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Author Topic: Invitation to dialog to Muslims  (Read 89860 times)
Howling Dog
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« Reply #100 on: July 09, 2006, 04:35:18 PM »

Woof Michael 6343, I can for the most part agree with what you say, and have no problem with it.
Most certainly it is your faith, and most certainly you are right come judgement day you will stand alone before God.
It is really not my intention to get into your personal business, and I really have no desire to get into any religous debate.
You state again this:
When I read scripture from any book I deliberately look for the good, the positive. If one were to totally abide by your belief that every ounce of the Koran or Bible should be revered as truth and acted as such then I would shutter to think of the BS that would be going on.

For me If I don't beleive that the entire Bible is truth then I make God to be  Liar. Which even in stating sounds absurd, as God is holy and is incapabable of lying.

You may say the Bible was written by men....... True, but as inspired by the holy spirit of God.
2nd timothy chpt. 3 vs 16-17 says:
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
So obviously as a Christian I need to beleive the Bible is the word of God and is truth.

There again how you believe is truly your business.
A question If I may ask.
What is it that makes yourself different from any other person that walks the earth?
Another......IF I may? Cheesy  
What is it that will get you into heaven?
                                                      TG
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Howling Dog
Michael6343
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« Reply #101 on: July 09, 2006, 05:09:20 PM »

Greetings once again Tom...

Tom asks:

What is it that makes yourself different from any other person that walks the earth?

@  My right to be so. I feel that every person is different, unique in their own way. I also feel that it is a good thing, can you imagine if we were all the same, damn what a boring existence that would be...gotta have a bit of oddity to keep the pot stirred, makes for a better life in my opinion.

I understand this question is extremely easy to misconstrue etc. and I know that a pat answer would be something like...BECAUSE G_D MADE ME SO but I find it is much deeper than that on an individual basis.

Tom asks:
 
What is it that will get you into heaven?

@ I do not know..to be straight up I don't know if I will make it that far, I do have a very turbulent past that I am not particularly proud of and if I am judged accordingly on some of those deeds then perhaps somewhere farther south may be better suited. I definitely hope that my atonement and good deeds that I have done hence forth will aid me when that day comes. I know my intention is now on the right track. In the end all I can do is my best!
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Howling Dog
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« Reply #102 on: July 09, 2006, 06:45:43 PM »

Woof Michael6343, I'am somehwat suprised and saddend by your response. I'am also appreciative in your transparent and seemingly genuine honesty in your dialog. I thank you for it.

I will speak strictly for myself and as a Christian and answer my own questions to you.
I too come from a turbulent past to say the least. The thing that makes me common with all people that walk the earth is that I'am a sinner. All have at one point in their lives committed a sin.
The thing that makes me different is that my sins are forgiven. I have accepted that holy sacrifice of Jesus Christ Gods own son on the cross and am washed in his shed blood.
The Bible teaches that without the shedding of blood their is no remission of sin.
God made a way for all mankind in giving his holy unblemished  pure son, the lamb of God, that who soever should believe in him  will not perish but have everlasting life.
So what makes me different......I'am a sinner saved by grace through faith. There is nothing that I could do on my own, but to recieve the gift of God.
No way can I redeem myself.

What will get me into heaven.......Covered by the blood of Christ. God being holy cannot look at sin, yet God can look at me through the blood.
Again left to myself no way can I enter into God presence. Imagine me in all my sins and failures attempting to dwell in heaven with a perfect God.
Would I not contaminate heaven itself if I were allowed in my present condition?
I have great hope and peace in the fact that, I don't have to do anything except recieve Christ as saviour and  God takes care of the rest.

The nice thing is its simplicity...... It is also one thing that makes Christianity different from all other religions. A Christian does not have to wonder if they will get to heaven, If they are saved they know for sure and are promised by Gods word.
                                                      TG
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Howling Dog
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #103 on: July 09, 2006, 11:42:17 PM »

Woof Michael:

Thank you for coming to play.

The joys of family for me today.  I will try to compose a worthy post tomorrow or Tuesday.

The Adventure continues,
CD/Marc
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Shdwdncr
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« Reply #104 on: July 12, 2006, 01:05:49 PM »

Greetings good people.  Smiley

I've been following this thread with great interest since its very beginning.

I have not posted previously as I felt that I did not have anything of sunstance to contribute to the dialog.

I still don't actually, but I just wanted to say that I've learned lots thru your posts and I wanted to express my gratitude for it.

So... Thanks.

Regards,

S.

PS: I like seeing the great level of civility expressed by most posters.
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rogt
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« Reply #105 on: July 12, 2006, 10:40:55 PM »

Quote from: tom guthrie

For me If I don't beleive that the entire Bible is truth then I make God to be  Liar. Which even in stating sounds absurd, as God is holy and is incapabable of lying.


You certainly know more about the Bible than I do, but how can it be possible that there is only one "correct" interpretation of it?

What exactly does it mean to say that the Bible "applies" to today's world?  In some parts, the author makes it crystal-clear that women are basically the property of men. Can you not call yourself a real Christian unless you subscribe to this view?

That's not to say that I consider the Bible, Koran, Torah, etc. to be completely without merit.  But come on, these books were written hundreds of years ago, at a time when humans didn't know nearly as much as we now know.  Give these volumes credit for the positive things they add to your life now, but it's not like everything we ever needed to know was discovered 2,000 or so years ago.
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Howling Dog
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« Reply #106 on: July 13, 2006, 07:47:28 AM »

Woof Rog, Please tell me where in the Bible it is made crystal clear that women are the property of men.
Also will you please give me an example where something in the Bible is subject to more than one interpretation.
Do these things if you will and I will be more than happy to discuss them with you.
                                              TG
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Howling Dog
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #107 on: July 15, 2006, 01:12:56 AM »

Michael:

Sorry for the delay.  I have had a heavy writing load to deal with the past few days and I confess to being distracted by the apparent commencement of open war in the mid-east.

I will get to this , , , eventually.

The Adventure continues,
CD

PS: Roger & Tom:  Knowing you two as I do, please forgive me for pre-emptively asking you make sure to bring your tangent back to the main point in the not too distant future.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #108 on: July 19, 2006, 08:56:48 PM »

Woof Michael:

I finally had a chance to sit and reread your post.  How refreshing that there is no hesitation or equivocation in your resposes to simple questions!  You seem like a reasonable guy with whom one could enjoyably break bread.  

Question:  In that you read holy books from many religions, why do you think of yourself as a Sufi Muslim?  What is it about its beliefs that appeal to you?  Which of these beliefs do you see as universal, and which do you see as distinctive to Islam/Sufi Islam?

Question:  It sounds like you feel free to interpret the Koran according to your inner voice.  Of course for the fundamentalist, this raises concerns of a "slippery slope" nature-- once one gets started interpreting and picking and choosing, how does one decide?  Who knows where it will lead? etc.

 How do you feel about all this?

Question:  Where is Sufism predominant?  What % of Muslims in the Arab world are Sufi?  In Iran?  In Afg?  In Pak?  In India? In Indonesia/Malaysia?  In Europe? In the US?    Is your thinking typical of Sufi thinking?

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
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Michael6343
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« Reply #109 on: July 20, 2006, 12:24:11 PM »

Hello all, Crafty thanks for the kind words and breaking bread is a favorite past time of mine...LOL. I will answer the following questions to the best of my ability.

why do you think of yourself as a Sufi Muslim?

As I said in my opening post I see myself as a human being before all else and I believe that being so transcends religion in all it's forms. I study Sufism for one simple reason, it makes sense to me, it deals with the simplicity of oneness and it being a solitary path makes it a personal journey of truth.

What is it about its beliefs that appeal to you?

The appeal is very simple, it is based on what I see as truth as it relates to that question of G_d. Now I understand that most hard line fundamental Muslims will say that Sufism or Tasawwuf if you will is a lie a false science etc. etc. but one must understand that Sufism was here way before the organized religion of Islam as a matter of fact Christianity and Judaism have their own mystical ways such as Gnosticism and Kabbalah. I also understand that some Sufi's will say that you cannot have Sufism without Sharia and or Sunnah etc. this is where I totally disagree, if Sufism transcends religion then these fundamental thoughts will never apply it is in fact the exact opposite of what Sufism is and to assume that an individual does not have the mental or spiritual capacity to embrace Sufism because he or she doesn't choose to call himself Muslim is an absolute falsehood.

Which of these beliefs do you see as universal, and which do you see as distinctive to Islam/Sufi Islam?

Personally I do not see Sufism (as I know it) distinctive to Islam or any other religion, I understand that Sufism is a part of Islam and that it has many faces. I am a student of Sufism as a western man, I see it from a western perspective that alone changes my view of what it is supposed to be according to fundamental thinking and in the long run it is a very personal journey.

The beliefs that I find are universal are very simple common sense:
1. freedom to believe how you want
2. love over hate
3. giving of yourself freely
4. to keep your beliefs in your heart
5. the oneness with your beliefs
And as Shaykh always says "smile it warms your soul as well as someone else's" so you see I just look at it in very simple terms, no need to delve into areas that I myself are unclear about or to be honest hold no relevance in 2006 America.

Crafty says: It sounds like you feel free to interpret the Koran according to your inner voice.  Of course for the fundamentalist, this raises concerns of a "slippery slope" nature-- once one gets started interpreting and picking and choosing, how does one decide?  Who knows where it will lead? etc.

I do interpret Koran & the Bible and all scripture I read with an open mind and an open heart (I would hope all people do) and yes it is a slippery slope and looked down upon among the box dwellers of Islam and fundamental mindsets in general. It is an easy decision I make to do so, I choose to see good not bad, I choose to use my mind in conjunction with my heart to decipher what I find to be truth..if this is wrong then so be it I am wrong but my heart and conscience are clear..I wonder if the fundamental mind and heart truly is?
The decision to read and interpret with my own heart is obvious, it is my right as a human being to do so and if more people would choose to see the good over the bad we may have less of a shit storm in the world. Hopefully it will lead to more tolerance for all and for everyone to soften their hearts just a bit...but personally I think that is a long, long way away.

Crafty asks: How do you feel about all this?

Well at first I thought it was a bit of a set up but I admit that I was 100% wrong, perhaps I judged before understanding...(I am human and fallible)but I do see now that it is a very important discussion and I hope my words may make sense to people if not that's understandable as well and a bit sad to. You asked why I consider myself Sufi/Muslim? I have been contemplating that greatly....I am a student of Sufism (my personal path) as far as being Muslim hm mm I guess to some I am to others I am not but to me I am a human being before all else. I believe Christianity and Judaism and Islam all have portions in their scripture that I agree with and there are portions in each that doesn't ring true in my heart but one thing for sure is if one chooses to look deep enough you will find they have more in common than one wishes to see.

I am unsure about Sufism in other parts of the world..I do know that in southeast Asia Sufism is a very big part of their ways.. and in many of the Silat systems Sufism plays an integral role....The Wali Songo etc. as for the middle east hmm to be honest with you I do not know...I tend to have a very skewed view of the middle east and it's ways, very skewed as in WHAT the F**** are they thinking over there? I think many people have that same view...LOL...Until next time..I hope these answers suffice...take care.

Michael
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #110 on: July 31, 2006, 10:40:37 AM »

Woof Michael:

Thank you for your thoughtful posts.  Please feel free to continue doing so.

CD
---------------------

All:

I recommend viewing this documentary about Islamic Fascism:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6162397493278181614&hl=en

The focus of this thread is Dialog with Muslims.  We will be particularly glad to hear Muslim reactions to this documentary.  As it notes in its conclusion, the words and deeds of the Muslim world in response to this Fascism are key.

The Adventure continues,
CD

8/11/08 edited to add:  For some reason tongue this video seems to be no longer available
« Last Edit: August 11, 2008, 01:06:43 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
rogt
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« Reply #111 on: August 01, 2006, 03:00:27 PM »

Woof,

If a bunch of people were to start calling abortion opponents "Christian Fascists" or Israeli settlers "Jewish Fascists", I suspect a lot of Christians and Jews would be offended.  But if any Muslims are offended by your favorite term, I guess that's their problem.

Rog
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buzwardo
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« Reply #112 on: August 01, 2006, 03:32:47 PM »

Quote from: rogt

If a bunch of people were to start calling abortion opponents "Christian Fascists" or Israeli settlers "Jewish Fascists", I suspect a lot of Christians and Jews would be offended.  But if any Muslims are offended by your favorite term, I guess that's their problem.


So you are setting up a syllogism where those who object to the killing of unborn humans are held similar to those who advocate walking into a crowded subway station and blowing themselves up? That comparison is silly on more levels than I'm willing to sit down and list.

If you have a term that describes those Muslims who use the tools of fascism to impose their ends by violence let's hear it. If that term bears some relationship to reality without treading upon your sensibilities I'll consider using it. My guess, however, is that those who think sawing the head off of an abused kidnapping victim on camera and then distributing the video widely while citing the glory of Allah worry not at all that some call them by their true name.
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rogt
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« Reply #113 on: August 01, 2006, 04:36:58 PM »

Woof,

If they're fascists, then why not just call them fascists?  Is the "Islamic" part necessary to avoid confusion with some other group of fascists?

Is it OK for me to use the term "Christian Fascists" even if I give a disclaimer that I only mean abortion clinic bombers and KKK members?  If a lot of people still think I really mean *all* Christians, then at some point my conscious use of the term becomes deliberately inflammatory.

Rog
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buzwardo
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« Reply #114 on: August 01, 2006, 05:25:31 PM »

Utility is my grail so I tend to choose terms that further that end. I think it can be clearly demonstrated that the folks in question claim an Islamic ethos and use fascist political and military tactics, so the term works for me.

If you think the term "Christian Fascists" describes a group in a useful manner, by all means use it. I'd argue that there is a qualitative and quantitative difference between abortion clinic bombers and Muslim terrorists, and my guess is that those differences will prevent parallel terms from being widely adopted outside of places like the Democratic Underground and the Daily Kos.

Though I understand political and rhetorical ends can be served by adopting parallel terms, in this instance I suspect many will see it as equivocation that fails to serve any purpose but a political one.
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rogt
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« Reply #115 on: August 01, 2006, 05:53:06 PM »

I'm just saying that however appropriate of a description you consider the term to be, it's seen as an insult to a lot of people.  If that's of no concern to you, fine, but then maybe the title of this thread should be "Muslim punching bags wanted for inflammatory discussion" instead of "an invitation to dialogue with Muslims".
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buzwardo
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« Reply #116 on: August 01, 2006, 06:55:53 PM »

If accurate terms have to be sacrificed to foster some lukewarm debate then I'm not particularly interested in participating in it in the first place. As you've doubtless surmised during our various exchanges, I don't lay awake at night worrying I've damaged any tender sensibilities, and indeed believe some embrace tender claims as it is easier than defending blatant foolishness.

Back when this thread began I stated:

Quote
I've been hesitant to chime in here as my experience is that these sorts of conversations rarely lead productive directions and indeed some current posts create a cognitive dissonance I expect will prove difficult to surmount.


I think my concern has largely proven true, not because a term has hurt feelings, but because simple premises like "Israel should be allowed to exist in peace" can't be agreed to. The result are exchanges that obfuscate rather than illuminate, warts and all. To my mind you seek to further embrace obfuscation, while I only find discussions that illuminate worth bothering with in the first place.

Bottom line is if calling someone who ballyhoos Islamic scripture while brandishing fascist tactics an Islamic Fascist makes informed debate impossible, I guess I'll have to live with it.
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Michael6343
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« Reply #117 on: August 01, 2006, 07:17:58 PM »

Howdy from Tejas

I watched this documentary very closely, it is so odd that these radicals who spout contempt for western ways, ideologies etc. borrow a page from just that, NAZI Germany. The old saying still applies "if you forget your history you are doomed to repeat it" this is oh so true and is very visible in this documentary. Okay on with my rant:

 These idiots who buy into this ideology and brainwashing are so lost it is truly sad, but with that being said a lost soul is one of complete denial and willing to do great harm to see that his masters bidding is done (a dangerous path indeed), personally speaking I am 100% against these bafoons and what they stand for, if they choose to do me or mine harm or my nation then I will fight them every inch of the way, I have no qualms with unleashing the dogs if that is what it takes to insure the sanctity of my beliefs, my way of life, my constitution and the safety of my nation and it's citizens no matter the race, color, religion or creed. I believe all Americans and westerners in general need to speak up more and come to each others aid in these times no matter the religion. The saddest part of this documentary is the children and the hate filled words that spewed from their mouths, that to me is the biggest crime in existance, we will deal with these youth as they grow into young adults with hate manifested times infinity and our only solution will be one of violence unless of course these ways change and true education and teachings of love and tolerance take root in these societies, which is hard for me to see...sad but oh so true. I really have no answers to any of this, I know that this is a world wide crisis and for some reason people still do not wish to open their eyes to it, why I do not know and for someone like Michael Moorer to open his pie hole and spew his rhetoric that we do not have to be worried is so typical of the left that it truly is freightening. Now I am not saying that we as Americans have to walk around with code red stamped on our foreheads but we better wake up to some degree and understand that this problem can touch us, and we need to prepare ourselves to some degree to be able to deal with the onslaught, godforbid that it finds us as an individual. We are at a very difficult time in our lives, a time of great violence throughout the globe a time of extreme changes which do not always reflect the goodness that exists in this world, we must be prepared to do what is necessary to keep our families, selves and way of life safe not to mention the greatest country on this rock the U.S.A.....so in closing keep the faith and do whats right,  be a good person, learn to tolerate all of mankind who are deserving (not these dip shits in the vid..LOL) and drive on and no matter your religion, color, creed I will be there to back your play because my friends this is America and those who come to destroy it will have a rude awakening....Take care!

Hillbilly Sufi
Michael B.
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rogt
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« Reply #118 on: August 02, 2006, 05:53:00 PM »

Quote from: buzwardo

If accurate terms have to be sacrificed to foster some lukewarm debate then I'm not particularly interested in participating in it in the first place.


"Christian wacko" may be a perfectly accurate term for Christians who bomb abortion clinics or burn crosses on black families' lawns, but because it's needlessly insulting (and I don't want to have to explain exactly who I mean every time I use it) I no longer use it in political discussions with Christians.  If you can't express yourself without insulting people, then yeah, you probably shouldn't participate in the discussion.
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buzwardo
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« Reply #119 on: August 02, 2006, 06:57:56 PM »

I can express myself more than adequately and have yet to hear from anyone other than you--who I presume is not an Islamic Fascist--that they find any term I use insulting. Frankly I think it's kind of insulting to assume all Muslims take umbrage when Islamic Fascists and their acts are condemned, but have better things to do than quibble about who's feelings are perhaps maybe hurt the worst by the way a term is applied or not.

But hey, why bother having a substantive discussion when you can dither endlessly instead dictating the PC terms for debate? There is no shortage of folks out there willing to take gross offense over most anything; I'm not going to stand mute because they like to warble about injuries real, or more likely imagined, particularly when I feel the end is to quash debate rather than move it forward.

BTW, do you feel Israel has a right to exist in peace? Or is the issue too concrete to discuss at this critical semantic juncture?
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rogt
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« Reply #120 on: August 02, 2006, 09:17:42 PM »

Quote from: buzwardo

BTW, do you feel Israel has a right to exist in peace?


I'd say they have a right to live in peace, but not unconditionally.  As the saying goes, everybody wants peace on their terms.  My issue with Israel is not that they're wrong and the Palestinians/Hezbollah are right, but that they take US support as meaning they don't have to negotiate or treat their adversaries with any respect, which they would have to do if left to deal with this on their own.

We constantly hear about how Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. deny "Israel's right to exist", that they want to "destroy Israel", or "exterminate all Jews".  The source is a statement (in Arabic or Farsi) supposedly from the Hamas charter.  It would be interesting to see a US news agency interview an actual Hamas leader, tell him how this statement is being interpreted in the US, and ask him directly if this is what they really mean.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #121 on: August 02, 2006, 09:48:35 PM »

Gentlemen:

Forgive me the intervention, but I'd like to steer this back to the subject of this thread: dialog with Muslims.

CD
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bjung
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...
« Reply #122 on: August 05, 2006, 10:01:45 PM »

Time to weigh in...

 Although I find myself without subscribing to any faith (oh how i long for an age of reason), there are many things that I find beautiful about religion. There are many things about Islam that appeal to the best of man and as a religion it provides serenity and comfort for hundreds of millions of people. I'll echo Sibatan and say yes I also believe the majority of people want to live their lives, provide for their families, etc.
I have met many Muslims who have emphasized that Islam is a religion of peace and practice it as such. I would venture to guess that most muslims were shocked and disgusted that 9/11, bali, spain, london, etc.
were done in their name. If you look at various editorials, etc. from muslim countries you can see a strong resistence to those claims. However it seems to stop there. Either the voices calling for Islam to emphasize it's peaceful teachings aren't loud enough, are unwilling, or they don't know what next step to take in confronting militanism.
 
Having lived in a Muslim country (Bangladesh) and having visited others (Malaysia, Indonesia), it becomes clear that Islam has many varieties. Personally I wonder how much national identity and culture affect the practice of Islam in any one area. How is Islam different in say South Asia and North Africa? How is is different than in the Middle East? Or are the things that i personally find disageeable (i.e. the perspective and treatment of women) a function of national culture or religion?

Earlier Rog made a post on whether or not we were seeking out comfort by searching for moderate voices to codemn terrorism. I think it's necessary to start a dialogue on certain ground. There are people out there who place Osama Bin Laden stickers on their walls, wear t-shirts depicting 9/11, have posters of Saddam, sell Osama Bin Laden action figures, call their stores Jihad, etc. Personally it gives me the willies and it isn't easy to engage with people (thankfully not the majority) who start out discussions with "Bush bad, Osama good." I dont think it's unreasonable to ask for people to start on the ground that terrorism is bad. From our side I also think it's important to demonstrate that there isn't a big western conspiracy against Islam, which is why voices demonstrating differences in American opinion or people seeking out meaningful dialogue are important.

woof.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #123 on: August 06, 2006, 06:47:20 PM »

Woof All:

Bjung (a.k.a. Porn Star Dog-- because his last name is JungwiwattanattaPORN folks  cheesy )  thank you for that post.

Moving along, this sounds like dialog to me:

http://oasisofpeace.org/about_village.htm



This does not:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmnpMXOpaM4&NR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM-XeaIn06g&NR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?search=&mode=related&v=19mpJRq11Hg

8/11/08 Edited to add that the thrid video has been removed for "violating terms of use".  Pre-emptive dhimmitude perhaps?


The Adventure continues,
CD
« Last Edit: August 11, 2008, 01:13:13 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #124 on: August 07, 2006, 10:24:38 AM »

From today's NY Times about Muslims in the US military:

http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/20060723_MARINES_FEATURE/blocker.html?th&emc=th

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/07/nyregion/07marines.html?pagewanted=1&th&emc=th

By ANDREA ELLIOTT
Published: August 7, 2006
Few people ever see Ismile Althaibani?s Purple Heart. He keeps the medal tucked away in a dresser. His Marine uniform is stored in a closet. His hair is no longer shaved to the scalp.

Faith and War
One Brooklyn Family
This is the first article in an occasional series looking at the experiences of Muslims in the United States military. Other articles will deal with the challenge of recruiting Arabic speakers and one woman?s efforts to enlist and serve.


It has been 20 months since he returned from Iraq after a roadside explosion shattered his left foot. He never expected a hero?s welcome, and it never came ? none of the balloons or hand-written signs that greeted another man from his unit who lived blocks away.

Mr. Althaibani, 23, was the last of five young marines to come home to an extended family of Yemeni immigrants in Brooklyn. Like the others, he grew accustomed to the uneasy stares and prying questions. He learned not to talk about his service in the company of Muslim neighbors and relatives.

?I try not to let people know I?m in the military,? said Mr. Althaibani, a lance corporal in the Marine Corps Reserve.

The passage home from Iraq has been difficult for many American troops. They have struggled to recover from the shocking intensity of the war. They have faced the country?s ambivalence about a conflict in which thousands of their fellow soldiers have been killed or maimed.

But for Muslim Americans like Mr. Althaibani, the experience has been especially fraught.

They were called upon to fight a Muslim enemy, alongside comrades who sometimes questioned their loyalty. They returned home to neighborhoods where the occupation is commonly dismissed as an imperialist crusade, and where Muslims who serve in Iraq are often disparaged as traitors.

Some 3,500 Muslims have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan with the United States armed forces, military figures show. Seven of them have been killed, and 212 have been awarded Combat Action Ribbons.

More than half these troops are African-American. But little else is known about Muslims in the military. There is no count of those who are immigrants or of Middle Eastern descent. There is no full measure of their honors or injuries, their struggle overseas and at home.

A piece of the story is found near Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, where two sets of brothers and a young cousin share a singular kinship. They grew up blocks apart, in the cradle of a large Muslim family. They joined the Marines, passing from one fraternity to another. Within the span of a year and a half, they had all gone to Iraq and come home.

Ismile?s cousin Ace Montaser sensed a new distance among the men at his mosque on State Street. He described it as ?the awkward eye.?

Ismile?s older brother Abe, a burly New York City police officer, learned to avoid political debates.

Their cousin Abdulbasset Montaser took a different approach. He answered questions about whether he served in Iraq with a feisty, ?Yeah, we?re going to Yemen next!? He has helped recruit for the Marines and boasts about his cousin?s medal to the neighbors.

?I want every Muslim in the military to be recognized,? said Mr. Montaser, a corporal. ?If not, people will feel they?re not doing their part.?

Their service bears some resemblance to that of Japanese and German immigrants who fought for the United States in World War II. But for Muslims of Arab descent, the call to serve in Iraq is complicated not only by ethnic ties, but by religion.

Islamic scholars have long debated the circumstances under which it is permissible for Muslims to fight one another. The arguments are intricate, centering on the question of what constitutes a just war.

In Brooklyn, those fine points are easily lost. Here, many immigrants say that killing Muslims is simply wrong, and they cite the Koran as proof. Their opposition to the war is rooted as much in religion, they say, as in Arab solidarity.

The same week that Abe Althaibani headed to Iraq with the 25th Marine Regiment, his wife joined thousands of antiwar protesters in Manhattan, shouting, ?No blood for oil!?

?It was my people,? said his wife, Esmihan Althaibani, a regal woman with luminous green eyes. ?I went because it was Arabs.?



===================








Few people ever see Ismile Althaibani?s Purple Heart. He keeps the medal tucked away in a dresser. His Marine uniform is stored in a closet. His hair is no longer shaved to the scalp.

 
This is the first article in an occasional series looking at the experiences of Muslims in the United States military. Other articles will deal with the challenge of recruiting Arabic speakers and one woman?s efforts to enlist and serve.

 
It has been 20 months since he returned from Iraq after a roadside explosion shattered his left foot. He never expected a hero?s welcome, and it never came ? none of the balloons or hand-written signs that greeted another man from his unit who lived blocks away.

Mr. Althaibani, 23, was the last of five young marines to come home to an extended family of Yemeni immigrants in Brooklyn. Like the others, he grew accustomed to the uneasy stares and prying questions. He learned not to talk about his service in the company of Muslim neighbors and relatives.

?I try not to let people know I?m in the military,? said Mr. Althaibani, a lance corporal in the Marine Corps Reserve.

The passage home from Iraq has been difficult for many American troops. They have struggled to recover from the shocking intensity of the war. They have faced the country?s ambivalence about a conflict in which thousands of their fellow soldiers have been killed or maimed.

But for Muslim Americans like Mr. Althaibani, the experience has been especially fraught.

They were called upon to fight a Muslim enemy, alongside comrades who sometimes questioned their loyalty. They returned home to neighborhoods where the occupation is commonly dismissed as an imperialist crusade, and where Muslims who serve in Iraq are often disparaged as traitors.

Some 3,500 Muslims have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan with the United States armed forces, military figures show. Seven of them have been killed, and 212 have been awarded Combat Action Ribbons.

More than half these troops are African-American. But little else is known about Muslims in the military. There is no count of those who are immigrants or of Middle Eastern descent. There is no full measure of their honors or injuries, their struggle overseas and at home.

A piece of the story is found near Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, where two sets of brothers and a young cousin share a singular kinship. They grew up blocks apart, in the cradle of a large Muslim family. They joined the Marines, passing from one fraternity to another. Within the span of a year and a half, they had all gone to Iraq and come home.

Ismile?s cousin Ace Montaser sensed a new distance among the men at his mosque on State Street. He described it as ?the awkward eye.?

Ismile?s older brother Abe, a burly New York City police officer, learned to avoid political debates.

Their cousin Abdulbasset Montaser took a different approach. He answered questions about whether he served in Iraq with a feisty, ?Yeah, we?re going to Yemen next!? He has helped recruit for the Marines and boasts about his cousin?s medal to the neighbors.

?I want every Muslim in the military to be recognized,? said Mr. Montaser, a corporal. ?If not, people will feel they?re not doing their part.?

Their service bears some resemblance to that of Japanese and German immigrants who fought for the United States in World War II. But for Muslims of Arab descent, the call to serve in Iraq is complicated not only by ethnic ties, but by religion.

Islamic scholars have long debated the circumstances under which it is permissible for Muslims to fight one another. The arguments are intricate, centering on the question of what constitutes a just war.

In Brooklyn, those fine points are easily lost. Here, many immigrants say that killing Muslims is simply wrong, and they cite the Koran as proof. Their opposition to the war is rooted as much in religion, they say, as in Arab solidarity.

The same week that Abe Althaibani headed to Iraq with the 25th Marine Regiment, his wife joined thousands of antiwar protesters in Manhattan, shouting, ?No blood for oil!?

?It was my people,? said his wife, Esmihan Althaibani, a regal woman with luminous green eyes. ?I went because it was Arabs.?



==========================



(Page 3 of 5)



?You see what?s going on over there,? said Esmihan Althaibani, 26. ?The casualties on both sides. Iraqis speaking for themselves, saying, ?We didn?t want to get invaded.? They would hold dead babies with their heads blown off.?

One afternoon in May, the television filled with the image of a blood-soaked sidewalk in Baghdad.

?Look, look,? said Sadah Althaibani, 65, a petite woman with a stubborn frown. ?They?re cleaning the blood off the ground.?

When Mrs. Althaibani talks about the war, she sounds like other American parents upset by their children?s service. She laments that her sons had to fight while President Bush ?was playing with his dog.? She has no doubt that the occupation was driven by a quest for oil.

But among Yemeni immigrants, Mrs. Althaibani found that she could not speak openly about her sons? deployment. Muslim Americans have been vehemently opposed to the war: Of roughly 1,800 surveyed by the pollster John Zogby in 2004, more than 80 percent were against it.

Mrs. Althaibani told people that her sons were working as translators, not as marines in combat. On her television, she had seen reports of Shiites fighting Sunnis, but she clung to the idea that Muslims should not kill each other.

?It?s a sin,? she said. ?Nobody kills other Muslims. They?re like brothers.?

After Combat, Questions

The question that shadows the Montasers and Althaibanis is whether they killed anyone. The same question haunts any soldier returning from combat. But for Muslims, the reckoning is different.

Abdulbasset Montaser, 23, a slim, soft-spoken man, said he fired his weapon only in self-defense, and never at targets he could distinctly see.

?I never had to kill anyone face to face,? he said.

He believed that battling with the insurgents was justified because they were not following the rules of Islam. What disturbed him were the civilians caught in the cross-fire.

?It?s not that I feel guilty going out there, but you?re fighting your own people in a way,? he said.

Of the five cousins, no one saw heavier combat than Ismile (pronounced ish-MY-el) Althaibani, who was stationed in Falluja in the fall of 2004, during the American offensive against the insurgents there. He worked in convoy security with the First Marine Division.

?If you?re out there ? no matter your culture, your religion ? and somebody shoots at you, what do you do?? Mr. Althaibani said. ?It?s either him or me. That?s how I come to terms with it.?

Still, he was troubled by his belief that Islam prohibits killing.

Over dinner at an Italian restaurant one evening last month, Mr. Althaibani sat hunched at the table, spinning his cellphone like a top.

Abdulbasset Montaser sat across from him. They were the only ones in their family to enlist after Sept. 11, when deployment to the Middle East was a clear possibility. They never expected the war that followed.

When asked if he was proud of his service in Iraq, Mr. Althaibani thought for a moment.

?It?s mixed feelings, right?? he said, looking at his cousin. Mr. Montaser nodded silently.

Mr. Althaibani was awarded a Combat Action Ribbon, in addition to the Purple Heart. He did not want to talk about whether he killed anyone, or about the violence he witnessed.

?You just try to forget,? he said.

A Marine Transformed

The oldest of the group, Abe Althaibani, came home with much of his former character intact. He had the same easy laugh. He still cleaned his plate at dinner.

But there were hints of change. He was more on edge, his mother noticed. He had acquired the habits of his comrades: he smoked Marlboro Reds and took to dipping tobacco.

What struck his wife was something less common among marines: Mr. Althaibani spoke Arabic with a new Iraqi accent.

He told his relatives little about his role in the war. When prodded, he would sometimes say that he served in ?civilian affairs.?

In fact, Mr. Althaibani had worked on secret missions around Iraq with two counterintelligence teams.



=========================



Page 4 of 5)



He had been trained as a rifleman. But soon after he arrived at his base in Nasiriya in April 2003, he became a full-time interpreter, going on raids, assisting with interrogations and working undercover to cultivate sources. To fit in, he grew a beard and wore a long, checked scarf popular among Iraqi men.

 
The irony of Mr. Althaibani?s evolution did not escape him: He assumed, by outward appearances, a more traditionally Arab identity with the Marines than he ever had growing up among Yemenis.

The greatest challenge of his service, he said, was ?the acting.?

?It?s like you gotta be somebody you?re not sometimes in order to get information,? he said. ?It?s basically like you?re a fake, you?re a fraud. But you have to think you?re doing this in order for good things to happen.?

Mr. Althaibani, 28, wanted only to unwind when he came home five months later. Other marines he knew had struggled to readjust to civilian life.

?It?s hard,? he said. ?You?re out there giving people orders, and you come here and the lady at the checkout is giving you attitude.?

He eventually became a police officer, taking a path that three other marines in his family plan to follow.

One sunny afternoon in June, Mr. Althaibani guided his black Nissan Maxima through the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn. Frank Sinatra?s ?Fly Me to the Moon? floated from the speakers. The playgrounds, schools and cafes of Mr. Althaibani?s youth passed in slow sequence.

As he drove, Mr. Althaibani began recounting the crowning achievement of his team in Iraq: the capture of a suspected Baath party official who was believed to have taken part in the deadly ambush of Pfc. Jessica Lynch?s convoy.

?I felt like I was doing something,? he said.

The Iraqi captive, Nagem Sadoon Hatab, was detained at Camp Whitehorse near Nasiriya in June 2003. During an interrogation, he would accept water only from Mr. Althaibani, the marine recalled.

Two days later, another marine dragged Mr. Hatab, who was covered in his own feces, by the neck outside his cell and left him lying naked in the heat, according to court testimony. He was found dead hours later. An autopsy showed that he had suffered a broken neck bone, broken ribs and blunt trauma to the legs.

A Marine Corps major and a sergeant were charged with assaulting Mr. Hatab. Both were acquitted of the charge, though the major was found guilty of dereliction of duty and maltreatment in the case and the sergeant was convicted of abusing unidentified Iraqi prisoners.

Mr. Althaibani testified at the sergeant?s trial. He spoke about the case later with a shrugging detachment, saying he had witnessed no abuse and believes that the prosecutors were intent on ?crucifying the Marines.?

Looking back on the war, he feels the greatest loyalty toward his fellow marines.

?I wanted to get out there, do what I had to do and get home,? he said. ?I had no choice. Even if there was a choice ? you?re going to train with these guys and leave them??

The Marine Corps is ?like a cult,? he said. ?You went together and you come home together.?

No Looking Back

It is difficult to picture Ace Montaser at war. He has a boy?s face, with flushed cheeks and aqua eyes that dance about.

When he rolls up his sleeve, the image hardens. Sprawled across his arm is a tattoo of the Grim Reaper. Below it, a ribbon of letters spells ?Brooklyn,? and across the top are the words, ?Trust no one.?

He got the tattoo when he came home from Iraq. It signaled his entry into another kind of battle, one between him and the traditions of his family.

From the time Mr. Montaser was 12, he remembers his mother telling him he would marry a girl from Yemen. He never liked the idea.

?They say you just build love,? he said.

A bride had also been chosen for his brother, Abdulbasset, and the family began talking of a dual wedding before the two men left for Iraq, with different units, in the spring of 2003.

While he was away, Mr. Montaser, 25, served mostly as a translator in Nasiriya, training the Iraqi police and rebuilding schools.

Iraq felt strangely familiar. He studied the streets, the cars, the way people dressed, and kept thinking of Yemen, where he had spent stretches of his youth.

In young Iraqis, he saw himself. He would look at them and wonder, had his father not moved to Brooklyn, would his life have been so different?

He was most haunted by the children, those who begged in the street and others who lay dead in a hospital he visited.

?I just saw how precious life was,? he said. ?To come back alive, I feel I have the right to do whatever I want to do.?

Soon after he returned that September, Mr. Montaser fell in love with a woman from the Bronx. She was Muslim, but did not cover her head. She was of Arab descent, but not Yemeni.

Their relationship was not the first rebellion staged by Mr. Montaser, who prefers the nickname Ace to his birth name, Abdulsamed.

His parents went ahead with the original wedding plan. Nine months later, they persuaded him to fly to Yemen, where they own a house in the capital, Sana.

The night before the wedding, he plotted his escape.



====================



Page 5 of 5)



He quietly packed his camouflage Marine bag. At midnight, he slipped out of the house. On a dresser, he left a note saying that he had gotten cold feet and was traveling south to the port city of Aden.

 

?That?s the good thing about being a marine,? he said. ?You plan. You?re made for these situations. That?s how I got out.?

He hailed a cab to the American Embassy, where a Marine staff sergeant ushered him inside. The next day, he flew back to New York.

?What he realized is the Marine Corps is his other family,? said Gunnery Sgt. Jamal Baadani, an Egyptian immigrant and a mentor of Mr. Montaser.

A week later, Mr. Montaser married his girlfriend, Nafeesah, at City Hall. They live in the Bronx with her parents.

Mr. Montaser is now studying to become a radio producer. For a long time, he did not speak to his parents. He is trying to mend the relationship, but has no interest in returning to Yemen.

?I don?t care what I left behind,? he said. ?There?s nothing for me there. Everything?s in America.?

A Quiet Return

Ismile Althaibani was the last to come home. He arrived at his parents? doorstep without warning on Thanksgiving day in 2004, leaning on a pair of crutches.

They answered the bell and embraced him. He knew there would be none of the balloons and signs that welcomed a Puerto Rican marine in the neighborhood.

?It?s just decorations,? Mr. Althaibani said.

Nine days earlier, on Nov. 17, Mr. Althaibani was in Falluja, riding in a predawn convoy to pick up detainees. He had said a prayer before the trip, reciting the Koran?s first verse. If he survived, he promised God, he would become a better Muslim.

Suddenly, a bomb planted by the insurgents exploded under his truck.

Shrapnel flew into his face and dug deep inside his left foot. Blood trickled from his ears. A friend dragged him from the wreckage, and soon he was on a helicopter to Baghdad.

Mr. Althaibani almost never tells the story of his injury. Few of his relatives know what happened. When he was awarded the Purple Heart at a ceremony at Floyd Bennett Field, in Brooklyn, he invited only his brother Abe and a couple of friends.

His mother does not know the name of his medal.

?You can?t say ?purple heart? in Arabic,? said Mr. Althaibani.

But word traveled. About six months after he returned, Mr. Althaibani was standing outside Yemen Cafe on Atlantic Avenue, sipping tea. A stranger walked up, shook his hand and asked him, in Arabic, if he had killed Iraqis.

None of the marines in Mr. Althaibani?s family welcomed the attention. But for Ismile, it was especially uncomfortable.

A lean man with brown, searching eyes, Mr. Althaibani is always standing off to the side. He is quiet by nature, but returned from Iraq even more withdrawn, his relatives observed. He smiled less, and smoked often.

One afternoon in May, he sank into a couch in his family?s living room. His father, who is a maintenance foreman at a building in Manhattan, sat across from him.

?Iraq is wrong ? 100 percent,? his father said, speaking in English to this reporter. ?Nobody support the war in Iraq.?

Ismile looked away. He had never asked his father what he thought of the war.

Weeks later, the young man stood in a park in Downtown Brooklyn, smoking a cigarette.

?He?s proud of me,? he said of his father. ?He don?t express himself a lot.?

His foot had finally healed. He had been attending a local mosque, and would soon begin training at the New York City Police Academy.

The physical traces of his time in Iraq were all but gone. His hair fell loosely over his forehead. A soft goatee shaded his face.

The only hint of his service hung from two silver chains that disappeared beneath his shirt. They held the aluminum tags of his military identity: name. Blood type. Social Security number.

Stamped across the bottom, in the same block letters, was the word ?Muslim.?
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« Reply #125 on: August 08, 2006, 07:18:03 PM »

August 22

By BERNARD LEWIS
August 8, 2006; Page A10

During the Cold War, both sides possessed weapons of mass destruction, but neither side used them, deterred by what was known as MAD, mutual assured destruction. Similar constraints have no doubt prevented their use in the confrontation between India and Pakistan. In our own day a new such confrontation seems to be looming between a nuclear-armed Iran and its favorite enemies, named by the late Ayatollah Khomeini as the Great Satan and the Little Satan, i.e., the United States and Israel. Against the U.S. the bombs might be delivered by terrorists, a method having the advantage of bearing no return address. Against Israel, the target is small enough to attempt obliteration by direct bombardment.

It seems increasingly likely that the Iranians either have or very soon will have nuclear weapons at their disposal, thanks to their own researches (which began some 15 years ago), to some of their obliging neighbors, and to the ever-helpful rulers of North Korea. The language used by Iranian President Ahmadinejad would seem to indicate the reality and indeed the imminence of this threat.

Would the same constraints, the same fear of mutual assured destruction, restrain a nuclear-armed Iran from using such weapons against the U.S. or against Israel?

* * *
There is a radical difference between the Islamic Republic of Iran and other governments with nuclear weapons. This difference is expressed in what can only be described as the apocalyptic worldview of Iran's present rulers. This worldview and expectation, vividly expressed in speeches, articles and even schoolbooks, clearly shape the perception and therefore the policies of Ahmadinejad and his disciples.


 
Muhammad's night flight on Buraq.
 
Even in the past it was clear that terrorists claiming to act in the name of Islam had no compunction in slaughtering large numbers of fellow Muslims. A notable example was the blowing up of the American embassies in East Africa in 1998, killing a few American diplomats and a much larger number of uninvolved local passersby, many of them Muslims. There were numerous other Muslim victims in the various terrorist attacks of the last 15 years.

The phrase "Allah will know his own" is usually used to explain such apparently callous unconcern; it means that while infidel, i.e., non-Muslim, victims will go to a well-deserved punishment in hell, Muslims will be sent straight to heaven. According to this view, the bombers are in fact doing their Muslim victims a favor by giving them a quick pass to heaven and its delights -- the rewards without the struggles of martyrdom. School textbooks tell young Iranians to be ready for a final global struggle against an evil enemy, named as the U.S., and to prepare themselves for the privileges of martyrdom.

A direct attack on the U.S., though possible, is less likely in the immediate future. Israel is a nearer and easier target, and Mr. Ahmadinejad has given indication of thinking along these lines. The Western observer would immediately think of two possible deterrents. The first is that an attack that wipes out Israel would almost certainly wipe out the Palestinians too. The second is that such an attack would evoke a devastating reprisal from Israel against Iran, since one may surely assume that the Israelis have made the necessary arrangements for a counterstrike even after a nuclear holocaust in Israel.

The first of these possible deterrents might well be of concern to the Palestinians -- but not apparently to their fanatical champions in the Iranian government. The second deterrent -- the threat of direct retaliation on Iran -- is, as noted, already weakened by the suicide or martyrdom complex that plagues parts of the Islamic world today, without parallel in other religions, or for that matter in the Islamic past. This complex has become even more important at the present day, because of this new apocalyptic vision.

In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time -- Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined. Mr. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22. This was at first reported as "by the end of August," but Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement was more precise.

What is the significance of Aug. 22? This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.

A passage from the Ayatollah Khomeini, quoted in an 11th-grade Iranian schoolbook, is revealing. "I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world-devourers [i.e., the infidel powers] wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all them. Either we all become free, or we will go to the greater freedom which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another's hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours."

In this context, mutual assured destruction, the deterrent that worked so well during the Cold War, would have no meaning. At the end of time, there will be general destruction anyway. What will matter will be the final destination of the dead -- hell for the infidels, and heaven for the believers. For people with this mindset, MAD is not a constraint; it is an inducement.

How then can one confront such an enemy, with such a view of life and death? Some immediate precautions are obviously possible and necessary. In the long term, it would seem that the best, perhaps the only hope is to appeal to those Muslims, Iranians, Arabs and others who do not share these apocalyptic perceptions and aspirations, and feel as much threatened, indeed even more threatened, than we are. There must be many such, probably even a majority in the lands of Islam. Now is the time for them to save their countries, their societies and their religion from the madness of MAD.

Mr. Lewis, professor emeritus at Princeton, is the author, most recently, of "From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East" (Oxford University Press, 2004).
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« Reply #126 on: August 12, 2006, 10:02:05 AM »

An article from the UK:



http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2092-2300423,00.html? ?
The Sunday Times? ? ? August 06, 2006

 

Muslim integration has come to a halt

Jon Snow found a worrying trend towards separation among the young?
when he toured the country to test Muslim opinion

I recently went on a journey around Britain to make a film about one of the most difficult and?
controversial questions facing our country today: to what extent do Muslims pose a threat to?
Britain and its values??

We were attempting to delve behind the results of the most comprehensive survey to date of?
Muslim opinion in Britain. Conducted by NOP for Channel 4?s Dispatches, one of its most
startling results suggested that Muslim integration into British society has effectively come to?
a halt.?

Immigrants have usually tended to become more secular and less religious than their parents?
by the second generation. But the survey shows Muslims have gone in precisely the opposite?
direction.?

Although many of the first Muslim immigrants did not speak English well, they were desperate?
to assimilate, driven, in part, by the desire for jobs and prosperity. The language barrier and?
other factors created a sense of separateness, but it was not of their choosing.?

By contrast, today?s young British Muslims are less liberal and more devout than their parents.?
Their beliefs render many of them determined not just to be different but also to be separate?
from the rest of the nation. The issues that bring them into direct conflict with Britain as a?
whole include freedom of speech and how the ?war on terror? is being fought at home.
In short, the effects of Britain?s foreign policy are far more profound than for any other?
section of the population in determining their identity.?

This sense of separateness is developing even in places like Stoke-on-Trent, where Muslims?
comprise only 3% of the population, reflecting exactly the ratio of the 1.6m Muslims to the rest?
of the UK. Stoke is no ghetto, but a conversation with young Muslims playing football showed?
how out of step their views are with wider public opinion.?

These young men simply did not believe that 9/11 was the work of Islamic terrorists, but rather?
an American conspiracy. One young man remarked in all seriousness that George Bush and?
Osama Bin Laden could be sitting together, sipping champagne. The reason Bin Laden had not?
been caught, he said, was that it would be ?game over and they?ll have to leave the Middle East?.?

A sizeable number of British Muslims to whom I talked were convinced that Princess Diana was?
killed because of her relationship with a Muslim, a view reflected in our survey of 1,000 Muslims
 ? not just angry young men, but the elderly, women, the poor and wealthy businessmen. Half?
of those polled believe 9/11 was a conspiracy by the US and Israel, while one in four think?
Diana was murdered to stop her marrying a Muslim.?


The evidence that integration has stopped comes from comparing our survey with previous studies,?
most notably one conducted in 1993 by Tariq Modood, professor of sociology at Bristol University,?
who says political identification with Islam has grown disproportionately among the young since then.?


It is generally assumed potential radicals come only from deprived areas, but Modood confirms that?
the well-off and educated are drawing away just as much. Many youngsters from Bradford are?
going to university and in a sense having it both ways ? benefiting from this country?s facilities but?
taking with them core beliefs that sometimes lead to separateness.?

Indeed, a 19-year-old Muslim studying biomedicine at a London university explained that the very?
fact of his education had led him to think the way he does. At one point I asked him and his two?
friends: ?You?d like me to become a Muslim, wouldn?t you?? They said I?d be much better for it,?
and talked about the positive aspects of converting.?

An overwhelming number of British Muslims believe free speech should not extend to insulting their?
religion, and one-third would rather live under sharia law, as laid down by the Koran. A 29-year-old?
of Turkish Cypriot origin told me: ?I feel that democracy altogether isn?t working as a system.?
I believe that man-made laws aren?t really the answer.??

The standards such teachings embody are non-liberal, though these are not without attraction to?
people on the conservative end of British life, who, like these young Koranic students, view?
homosexuality and drunkenness in public places as wholly unacceptable.?

I had an interesting discussion on an east London housing estate with Heena, an articulate young?
media studies student who seemed integrated, with her iPod and western dress, yet could not have?
been more damning when we got onto the question of homosexuality.

However, the vast majority share the attitude of Sheeryn, a teacher of Koranic studies in Bradford,?
who said she felt comfortable in Britain and had close British friends. ?I think I have a place for?
these people and a place for my religion,? she said.

?
Other views are less reassuring. In our sample, almost one in four said the July 7 bombings were?
justified in the light of Britain?s support for the war on terror. Those under the age of 24 were?
twice as likely to believe this as those over 45.?

For the moment, British Muslims are on side. Eight out of 10 we questioned said someone who?
knew of a terrorist act and did not report it would be equally to blame as the terrorists themselves.?

What I encountered was a story of separateness, rather than extremism. Only eight out of the?
1,000 people polled maintained a very hard line throughout all the answers. The others were?
inconsistent, to the extent that while some might justify the July 7 bombings, they were moderate?
on other issues.?

The clearest conclusion is that they are deeply affected by external events in which they see their?
fellow Muslims being killed. They have a litany of instances all over the world in which they feel?
the British government is either complicit, active in, or tolerant of mistreatment of Muslims.?

We had just finished the programme when Lebanon blew up. I have no doubt it is adding to?
the Muslim community?s sense of anger and alienation.?

Making the programme gave me a degree of contact with domestic Muslims I?ve never had?
before. I found them to be a very dynamic community. In mainly Muslim markets in London?
and Bradford, people bounded up to me eager to talk about the issues of the day. They were?
much more interested in current events than the rest of the population.?

Separatism breeds fear, misunderstanding and intolerance on both sides. I sensed a real need
for the rest of us to reach out and engage. Restarting any sense of integration is going to require?
real dialogue and understanding of what Muslims think if the deepening divide is to be bridged.?

Jon Snow presents Dispatches: What Muslims Want on Channel 4 at 8pm tomorrow.?
He was talking to Stuart Wavell

 

 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #127 on: August 13, 2006, 06:46:25 AM »



*Muslims aim to weed out black sheep

      RSS Feeds<http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/rssfeeds/-2128936835.cms>|
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 MUMBAI: A section of Muslims in Mumbai, India has saluted the British Muslim who
alerted the authorities about the alleged plot to blow up US-bound flights
in London.

Using it as an example, it has favoured similar steps from within the
community to isolate terror suspects.
Disturbed at the growing demonisation of Islam and Muslims in the wake of
7/11 blasts, many ulema (religious scholars) have started citing the example
of the British Muslim who helped the authorities foil a terror plot that
could have caused unimaginable devastation mid-air.

"I salute the Muslim who tipped British police about the terror plot. I have
been telling fellow Muslims here to watch out for the black sheep who bring
infamy to the whole community," said Maulana Athar Ali of Majlis-e-Shoora, a
socio-religious body.

"Islam discourages killing innocents and any conspiracy for such heinous
crime should be disclosed and the conspirators handed over to the
authorities," added Maulana Athar, who was part of a delegation of prominent
Muslims that met police commissioner A N Roy on Thursday.

While complaining about the alleged "selective" detention of Muslims after
7/11, the leaders assured the police commissioner of full cooperation in
investigations.

"I don't think any local Muslim would have been involved in the blasts. But
if there was any local support, he should be found and punished,'' said
Maulana Mehmood Daryabadi of All India Ulema Council, a body of religious
scholars.

He added that Muslims have to be careful and inform the authorities if they
see any suspicious behaviour of anyone. Significantly, the community has
sought the services of imams of different mosques to reiterate love for the
country and prevent any possible radicalisation among the youth.

"The prophet said love for your country is part of your imaan (faith). A
true Muslim cannot be a traitor,'' said Maulana Abdul Jabbar Azmi, imam of
the Hindustani mosque in Byculla.

Maulana Jabbar, who also heads the All India Sunni Tanzeem Aima Masjid, the
association of imams of Sunni mosques in the country, has sent letters to
thousands of imams across the country to stress Islam's message about
nationalism in their Friday sermons.

"One cannot be a good Muslim unless one is loyal to his motherland.
Terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed are
harming the name of Islam. Muslims have no sympathy for those who perpetrate
crime in the name of Islam," said Maulana Jabbar who was one of the speakers
at a multi-faith peace meeting held at Nehru centre earlier this week.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #128 on: August 13, 2006, 07:29:44 AM »

Woof All:

Well, not much dialog going on here.  So until there is, here's my second post of the morning.

Of the many interesting points in this piece, this one caught my attention in particular:

"?Among younger Brits in urban areas, which is where most British Muslims live, we drink more alcohol faster, sleep around more, live less in long-lasting, two-parent families, and worship less than almost anywhere else in the world,? the writer Timothy Garton Ash argued in The Guardian recently. ?It?s clear from what young British Muslims themselves say that part of their reaction is against this kind of secular, hedonistic, anomic lifestyle.?"

CD
-------------------------

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/13/world/europe/13muslims.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

Many Muslims in Britain Tell of Feeling Torn Between Competing Identities



LONDON, Aug. 12 ? As a Muslim, Qadeer Ahmed says, he believes that violence against civilians is never justified. But as a British Muslim, he is not surprised to find the country once again at the center of a reported terrorist plot by homegrown extremists.

 
James Hill for The New York Times
Taji Mustafa, of Hizb ut-Tahrir, at a news conference Saturday in London?s West End. He said his group?s principles do not breed extremism.

?When people say it?s Bush and Blair against the world, it?s difficult to argue with them,? said Mr. Ahmed, 37, a leader of the largest mosque in High Wycombe, where half a dozen young British Muslims were among the 24 arrested Thursday in what the authorities said was an elaborate plan to blow up planes on trans-Atlantic routes.

Despite government efforts over the last several years to reach out to community leaders ? a tricky proposition, given that Muslims hardly speak with one voice ? many Muslims have hardened their resentment of their country.

British policies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now in Lebanon, are just the most recent in a long list of grievances ? cultural, economic and political ? among Muslims here. For a few, that has manifested itself in extremism and violence. For many others, it has meant a sharpening of a continuing struggle between two competing identities.

In a recent poll of Muslims in 13 countries conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, 81 percent of those surveyed in Britain said they considered themselves Muslims first and Britons second. That contrasts with Spain, where 69 percent of those surveyed considered themselves Muslims first and Spaniards second; Germany, where the comparable number is 66 percent, and even Jordan, with 67 percent.

Britain has never aspired to be a melting pot, and even second- and third-generation immigrants in England are likely to identify themselves ? and, more significantly, be identified by the English ? as belonging to their family?s country of origin.

?In the U.S., people routinely talk of Irish-Americans, Portuguese-Americans, You Name It-Americans, but have you ever heard the English talk that way?? asked Roger Ballard, director of the center for applied South Asian studies at the University of Manchester. ?The English have always had, since the days of the Reformation, this strong commitment to homogeneity.?

For Muslims, with their adherence to religion in a country that is aggressively secular and their feelings of brotherhood with Muslims in the Middle East, the feelings of alienation are particularly acute.

?The war on terrorism is the war on us,? said Mohammed Mowaz, 29, a computer engineer interviewed outside the Queen?s Road Mosque in Walthamstow.

Nazim Akram, 23, an accounting trainee, said in an interview outside the mosque that he was skeptical about anything the authorities said, particularly after the botched raid by 250 officers in the Forest Gate section of London in June. After shooting a Muslim suspect, destroying his house, and arresting him and another Muslim man on suspicion of making chemical weapons, the police released them and said they had made a mistake.

Similarly, Mr. Akram said he believed that the suspects in the recent bombing case were ?just normal guys.?

Those who study Muslims in England say the current generation of young people ? those whose fathers moved here in the 1960?s to work in the textile mills in the Midlands and the north ? is more inclined to be at odds with British society.

Many of the first wave of immigrants were from rural Pakistan, spoke poor English and never integrated much. But the generation that is coming of age now is caught between the traditionalism of their parents and the Western ideas they have been born in to, and the result can be toxic.

?They are deeply confused, because they have been brought up in Britain and are actually very Westernized,? Mr. Ballard said. ?They?re seeking to discover an Islam through Western ideas.? And, he said, they are rereading in literal terms.

Muslim ties to tradition are reinforced by frequent visits to where their families came from, and by arranged marriages to cousins who are likely to come from small Pakistani villages.

Feeling apart from mainstream society, finding it hard to get work in the depressed former mill towns near Manchester and Birmingham, some young men turn to local mosques ? often run by imams who have moved from rural Pakistan themselves ? as social, religious and educational centers.

Khalid Mahmood, a member of Parliament from Birmingham, said Muslims found it all too easy to shrug off the radicalization of some parts of their culture, particularly among young men.

?They are reluctant to discuss what reality is and come to terms with it,? he said.



Mr. Mahmood is a friend of the family of Tayib Rauf, one of the suspects whose arrest was announced Thursday, and he said that the Rauf family was comfortably off and not in any way fundamentalist. He suspected, he said, that Mr. Rauf had become radicalized in college, perhaps by listening to a speech from a visiting speaker.


In a country where, for instance, Muslims were free to raise placards denouncing freedom of speech during a demonstration protesting the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed, Mr. Mahmood said British tolerance had allowed extremism to flourish. ?We?ve been reluctant to curb freedom of expression or religious rights,? he said. ?We?ve played host to people who weren?t allowed in their own country of origin.?
Some British Muslims are repelled by what they see as the decadence and libertinism of Western society, particularly obvious in Britain.

?Among younger Brits in urban areas, which is where most British Muslims live, we drink more alcohol faster, sleep around more, live less in long-lasting, two-parent families, and worship less than almost anywhere else in the world,? the writer Timothy Garton Ash argued in The Guardian recently. ?It?s clear from what young British Muslims themselves say that part of their reaction is against this kind of secular, hedonistic, anomic lifestyle.?

But Taji Mustafa, a spokesman for the British branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a nonviolent group advocating a unified Muslim government in Muslim countries, said rejecting Western permissiveness in the name of Islam does not breed extremism.

?People say, ?Oh, he became more religious,? ? Mr. Mustafa said in an interview. ?What does that mean? Well, instead of spending time at the pub, he may spend more time with his family. When someone says, ?I?m Muslim first,? does that mean, ?I want to go bomb the Underground?? Nonsense!?

If some Muslims see themselves as apart from British society, said Massoud Shadajares, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, the feelings are cruelly reinforced by the British.

As an illustration, Mr. Shadajares described how at the time of the World Cup tournament in June, a secular Muslim friend from Nottingham ducked in to a pub to find the England team?s latest score.

?He walked in and said, ?Hey, guys, how are we doing?? ? Mr. Shadajares said. ?And one of the English guys said, ?I didn?t know that Pakistan was playing today.? ?

By the same token, when Sajid Mahmood, a cricket star of Pakistani descent, took the field with the English team this week against Pakistan, fans of Pakistani descent booed him and called him a traitor.
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joewambaugh
Newbie
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Posts: 25


« Reply #129 on: August 14, 2006, 07:38:36 PM »

http://www.myspace.com/city_of_los_angeles

1. the U.S. has the only military in the world that can reach out and touch someone.

2. there are many authoritarian regimes in the world, who kill/abuse/torture the people under them.

3. the U.S. is responsible for putting many of those regimes in power (i.e. Saddam, Mubarak, the Saudi family, a few dictators in Asia, and a few more in Africa, and some in South America).

4. when we let those regimes continue to oppress their people, these people get pissed off (either because they know it's the U.S. that's supporting their dick-tators, or because the U.S. won't do anything to help them).

* Zarqawi was from Jordan, Zawahiri is from Egypt, and bin Laden from Saudi Arabia, all countries the U.S. supports, all are authoritarian (actually Jordan is less so nowadays)

5. when the U.S. takes a "we don't wanna do anything cuz it's not in our best interest" stance, or "we don't wanna impose our own culture~if they wanna beat up their wives and teach their kids only the Quran, it's fine with us" stance, this policy as we saw first hand on sept the 11th, blew back in our face.

6. the U.S. is the only military in the world capable of doing the greatest GOOD (caveat: without re-training/vision, probably the greatest EVIL).? the U.S. military along w/ diplomats, students, volunteers, the media, etc. now have the responsibility to bring the FREE flow of everything (goods, ideas, education, people, etc. etc.) to EVERYONE else.

you are right, the U.S. has been misrepresented in the world by soul-less corporations whose only purpose is profit, by sex tourists, pedophiles who fly all the way to countries like the philippines/cambodia to feast, by hollywood, by the porn industry, by all the apathy and meaningless-ness shown in MTV,

but we all know America has so much more purpose, and now DUTY...

what to do?

* re-train the military, so that every soldier starts thinking more like a police officer (i.e. fairness, knowledge of culture, be able to balance violence and compassion, diplomacy, information gathering w/ in the constitutional framework~consensual, resonable suspicion, probable cause, etc.)

* start teaching anthropology and languages from elementary to college (the more languages a person speaks the more cultures, and with that understanding)

* increase funding for study abroad programs (to off set the global misrepresentation of Americans, to show the world that we are not just a bunch of drunken monolingual idiot sex tourists hell bent on putting a McDonalds or Starbucks at every street corner, FUCK corporations!)

* start regulating corporations, so they don't just suck all the resources of poor countries just to be wasted here in the west (becuz this PISSES alot of people too, especially me)

* increase funding for the Peace Corps, Americorps, USAID, etc. since these are the only gov't entities that seem to understand the bigger picture at hand

* lastly, get everyone to start smoking pot, the U.S. gov't was once responsible for growing the best pot in the world, when they were experimenting with pot as healing/pain killing agents awhile back, they stopped that program around the same time Reagan declared wars on Drugs...

*********************************************************

hizballah kidnaps and kills a couple of israelis, the state of israel responds with fire and brimstone.? hizb has been stockpiling weapons in southern lebanon since israel pulled out of that area.? the new lebanese gov't for the past couple of years has been urging hizb members to join the lebanese military (every faction in lebanon from the maronites to the druzis have their own armies, the end game was to consolidate arms under a 'lebanese' military).? the state dept has always been uneasy of hizballah's arsenals.? hizballah needed to be castrated, period.? the u.s. gave the green light, and israel got to play.

what everyone is forgetting though, is the bigger war: the war on terror (or the war against muslim fundamentalism).? the bigger war is to win the hearts and minds of the moderate muslims, eastern christians, and other minorities in the middle east.? although, the disarming of hizballah (and the 'democratization' of iraq for that matter) seems to make sense, we are losing focus of the end goal.? instead of seeing the benefits of western modernity, the people in the mid east are seeing only destruction (dismembered little girls, rape, etc.).

hizballah is shiite and represents a form of islamic fundamentalism.? the other form is salafi islam, which is sunni.? there were only 2 islamic nations, nations which practiced the shari'a or islamic law, iran/shiite and afghanistan/salafi under mawdudi (keep in mind saudi arabia is a kingdom, egypt/syria/iraq are secular dictatorships).? in retrospect, we should've just stayed in afghanistan and made an example of that country.? put a 7-eleven and starbucks at every corner, open up stipjoints, introduce in-door plumming, the bikini, brazilian wax, and made it our 51st state.?

instead, the u.s. went for saddam's regime which would have made a great ally, since it was secular and hated the fundamentalists as much as we did.? now, iraq will become part of iran.? syria is another example of another potential ally.? when asad, an alawi, took power in the 70s he formed a faction (his power base) of syria's minorities, i.e. christians, druzis, alawis, assyrians, and shiites.? syria is close to iran because of how asad treated the shiite minority in syria (a diplomatic move).? the current regime in syria can just as easily turn its back on iran, if given the right incentives.

bashir al-asad, president asad's opthalmologist son from england, seemed now more than ever a likely ally.? he is westernized, secular (eastern christians, from assyrians to armenians to greek orthodox enjoy the greatest freedoms in only 3 countries in the middle east, syria, lebanon, and israel). syria shares our aversion with islamic fundamentalism (hama in the early 1980s is a great example).? but, without our backing syria will fall to the islam re-interpreted by savage idiots (the muslim brotherhood is fast gaining strength in egypt, iraq will fall to iran).?

we are losing the people we need so much to win over, because they are seeing their women and children killed on tv.

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rogt
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Posts: 229


« Reply #130 on: August 14, 2006, 09:03:35 PM »

http://www.myspace.com/city_of_los_angeles
2. there are many authoritarian regimes in the world, who kill/abuse/torture the people under them.

3. the U.S. is responsible for putting many of those regimes in power (i.e. Saddam, Mubarak, the Saudi family, a few dictators in Asia, and a few more in Africa, and some in South America).

4. when we let those regimes continue to oppress their people, these people get pissed off (either because they know it's the U.S. that's supporting their dick-tators, or because the U.S. won't do anything to help them).

This is an accurate (if a little simplistic) assessment.  Some people in these oppressed countries may hold some pretty messed-up views, but they're not stupid.  A lot of Americans can't believe it (or excuse it) when you tell them we actually do support some pretty nasty and corrupt regimes (like Saudi Arabia), but this is no secret to the typical Saudi or Egyptian citizen.  Without granting any political legitimacy to 9/11 or any other such actions, it's only natural that the fundamentalist/terrorist view has a lot of appeal for people deprived of any means of changing their situation in a positive way.

Quote
6. the U.S. is the only military in the world capable of doing the greatest GOOD (caveat: without re-training/vision, probably the greatest EVIL).  the U.S. military along w/ diplomats, students, volunteers, the media, etc. now have the responsibility to bring the FREE flow of everything (goods, ideas, education, people, etc. etc.) to EVERYONE else.

you are right, the U.S. has been misrepresented in the world by soul-less corporations whose only purpose is profit, by sex tourists, pedophiles who fly all the way to countries like the philippines/cambodia to feast, by hollywood, by the porn industry, by all the apathy and meaningless-ness shown in MTV,

It seems like up until the early 1990s, anything American was considered super-cool throughout the world.  Everybody wanted to wear American clothes, listen to American music, etc. and now it's pretty much the exact opposite.  The USSR was pretty messed-up in a LOT of ways, but it's existence was also the only thing that kept the power-hungry elements of our leadership under control.


Quote
what to do?

* re-train the military, so that every soldier starts thinking more like a police officer (i.e. fairness, knowledge of culture, be able to balance violence and compassion, diplomacy, information gathering w/ in the constitutional framework~consensual, resonable suspicion, probable cause, etc.)

* start teaching anthropology and languages from elementary to college (the more languages a person speaks the more cultures, and with that understanding)

* increase funding for study abroad programs (to off set the global misrepresentation of Americans, to show the world that we are not just a bunch of drunken monolingual idiot sex tourists hell bent on putting a McDonalds or Starbucks at every street corner, FUCK corporations!)

* start regulating corporations, so they don't just suck all the resources of poor countries just to be wasted here in the west (becuz this PISSES alot of people too, especially me)

* increase funding for the Peace Corps, Americorps, USAID, etc. since these are the only gov't entities that seem to understand the bigger picture at hand

Or at least start with teaching the ideas that we're not special just because we're American/Christian/Jewish and that people in other countries deserve to be treated with the same respect as we do...

Quote
* lastly, get everyone to start smoking pot, the U.S. gov't was once responsible for growing the best pot in the world, when they were experimenting with pot as healing/pain killing agents awhile back, they stopped that program around the same time Reagan declared wars on Drugs...

No argument from me here!

Quote
we are losing the people we need so much to win over, because they are seeing their women and children killed on tv.

This is the bottom line right here.  In the case Iraq, they're seeing it right in front of their faces.  Who in their right mind wouldn't want to kill the people they see killing their friends and families?  We Americans would do the exact same thing if we were in their shoes.
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captainccs
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Posts: 695


« Reply #131 on: August 15, 2006, 06:22:35 PM »

Iran paper plans Holocaust cartoons

Monday 06 February 2006, 20:00 Makka Time, 17:00 GMT?


Ahmadinejad says the slaughter of Europe's Jews is 'a myth'


Iran's largest selling newspaper has announced it is holding a contest on cartoons of the Holocaust in response to the publishing in European papers of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

Farid Mortazavi, the graphics editor for Hamshahri newspaper, which is published by Tehran's conservative-run municipality, said on Monday: "It will be an international cartoon contest about the Holocaust."
 
He said the plan was to turn the tables on the assertion that newspapers can print offensive material in the name of freedom of expression.
 
"The Western papers printed these sacrilegious cartoons on the pretext of freedom of expression, so let's see if they mean what they say and also print these Holocaust cartoons," he said.
 
Iran's anti-Israeli government is supportive of so-called Holocaust revisionist historians, who maintain the systematic slaughter by the Nazis of mainland Europe's Jews as well as other groups during the second world war has been either invented or exaggerated.
 
Systematic slaughter
 
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, prompted international anger when he said the Holocaust was a "myth" used to justify the creation of Israel.
 
Mortazavi said Tuesday's edition of the paper will invite cartoonists to enter the competition, with "private individuals" offering gold coins to the best 12 artists - the same number of cartoons that appeared in the conservative Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.
 
Last week the Iranian Foreign Ministry also invited Tony Blair, the British prime minister, to Tehran to take part in a planned conference on the Holocaust, even though the idea has been branded by Blair as "shocking, ridiculous, stupid".
 
Blair also said Ahmadinejad "should come and see the evidence of the Holocaust himself in the countries of Europe", to which Iran responded by saying it was willing to send a team of "independent investigators".


http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/FCE073DD-7F1B-4714-95F0-DD1F354F1D9A.htm


Israel Launches SEO Contest Against Iran Holocaust Cartoons


Danish Pastries Taste Better Than Explosives From Iran
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Denny Schlesinger
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #132 on: August 16, 2006, 11:53:18 AM »

Capt:

I think the Holocaust cartoon contest should be a non-event.

All:

Some of the recent posts here have drifted off topic.  Here's to staying on topic:

CD
=============
Today's NY Times op-ed page:

Muslim Myopia
               E-MailPrint Save
 
By IRSHAD MANJI
Published: August 16, 2006
New Haven

LAST week, the luminaries of the British Muslim mainstream ? lobbyists, lords and members of Parliament ? published an open letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair, telling him that the ?debacle? of both Iraq and Lebanon provides ?ammunition to extremists who threaten us all.? In increasingly antiwar America, a similar argument is gaining traction: The United States brutalizes Muslims, which in turn foments Islamist terror.

But violent jihadists have rarely needed foreign policy grievances to justify their hot heads. There was no equivalent to the Iraq debacle in 1993, when Islamists first tried to blow up the World Trade Center, or in 2000, when they attacked the American destroyer Cole. Indeed, that assault took place after United States-led military intervention saved thousands of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo.

If Islamists cared about changing Iraq policy, they would not have bothered to abduct two journalists from France ? probably the most antiwar, anti-Bush nation in the West. Even overt solidarity with Iraqi suffering did not prevent Margaret Hassan, who ran a world-renowned relief agency in Baghdad, from being executed by insurgents.

Meanwhile, at least as many Muslims are dying at the hands of other Muslims as under the boots of any foreign imperial power. In Sudan, black Muslims are starved, raped, enslaved and slaughtered by Arab militias, with the consent of an Islamic government. Where is the ?official? Muslim fury against that genocide? Do Muslim lives count only when snuffed out by non-Muslims? If not, then here is an idea for Muslim representatives in the West: Go ahead and lecture the politicians that their foreign policies give succor to radicals. At the same time, however, challenge the educated and angry young Muslims to hold their own accountable, too.

This means reminding them that in Pakistan, Sunnis hunt down Shiites every day; that in northern Israel, Katuysha rockets launched by Hezbollah have ripped through the homes of Arab Muslims as well as Jews; that in Egypt, the riot police of President Hosni Mubarak routinely club, rape, torture and murder Muslim activists promoting democracy; and, above all, that civil wars have become hallmarks of the Islamic world.

Muslim figureheads will not dare be so honest. They would sooner replicate the very sins for which they castigate the Bush and Blair governments ? namely, switching rationales and pretending integrity.

In the wake of the London bombings on July 7, 2005, Iqbal Sacranie, then the head of the influential Muslim Council of Britain, insisted that economic discrimination lay at the root of Islamist radicalism in his country. When it came to light that some of the suspects enjoyed middle-class upbringings, university educations, jobs and cars, Mr. Sacranie found a new culprit: foreign policy. In so doing, he boarded the groupthink express steered by Muslim elites.

The good news is that ordinary people of faith are capable of self-criticism. Two months ago, 65 percent of British Muslims polled believed that their communities should increase efforts to integrate. The same poll also produced troubling results: 13 percent lionized the July 7 terrorists, and 16 percent sympathized. Still, these figures total 29 percent ? less than half the number who sought to belong more fully to British society.

Whether in Britain or America, those who claim to speak for Muslims have a responsibility to the majority, which wants to reconcile Islam with pluralism. Whatever their imperial urges, it is not for Tony Blair or George W. Bush to restore Islam?s better angels. That duty ? and glory ? goes to Muslims.

Irshad Manji, a fellow at Yale University, is the author of ?The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim?s Call for Reform in Her Faith.?


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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #133 on: August 16, 2006, 06:50:51 PM »

Concerning the term Islamofascism, for which Rogt has taken me to task, I bring this piece, first posted by Buzwardo in the "Rants" thread over to here:

-------------------

What Is 'Islamofascism'?

By Stephen Schwartz


"Islamic fascists" -- used by President George W. Bush for the conspirators in the alleged trans-Atlantic airline bombing plot -- and references by other prominent figures to "Islamofascism," have been met by protests from Muslims who say the term is an insult to their religion. The meaning and origin of the concept, as well as the legitimacy of complaints about it, have become relevant -- perhaps urgently so.

I admit to a lack of modesty or neutrality about this discussion, since I was, as I will explain, the first Westerner to use the neologism in this context.

In my analysis, as originally put in print directly after the horror of September 11, 2001, Islamofascism refers to use of the faith of Islam as a cover for totalitarian ideology. This radical phenomenon is embodied among Sunni Muslims today by such fundamentalists as the Saudi-financed Wahhabis, the Pakistani jihadists known as Jama'atis, and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. In the ranks of Shia Muslims, it is exemplified by Hezbollah in Lebanon and the clique around President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran.

Political typologies should make distinctions, rather than confusing them, and Islamofascism is neither a loose nor an improvised concept. It should be employed sparingly and precisely. The indicated movements should be treated as Islamofascist, first, because of their congruence with the defining characteristics of classic fascism, especially in its most historically-significant form -- German National Socialism.

Fascism is distinguished from the broader category of extreme right-wing politics by its willingness to defy public civility and openly violate the law. As such it represents a radical departure from the tradition of ultra-conservatism. The latter aims to preserve established social relations, through enforcement of law and reinforcement of authority. But the fascist organizations of Mussolini and Hitler, in their conquests of power, showed no reluctance to rupture peace and repudiate parliamentary and other institutions; the fascists employed terror against both the existing political structure and society at large. It is a common misconception of political science to believe, in the manner of amateur Marxists, that Italian fascists and Nazis sought maintenance of order, to protect the ruling classes. Both Mussolini and Hitler agitated against "the system" governing their countries. Their willingness to resort to street violence, assassinations, and coups set the Italian and German fascists apart from ordinary defenders of ruling elites, which they sought to replace. This is an important point that should never be forgotten. Fascism is not merely a harsh dictatorship or oppression by privilege.


Islamofascism similarly pursues its aims through the willful, arbitrary, and gratuitous disruption of global society, either by terrorist conspiracies or by violation of peace between states. Al-Qaida has recourse to the former weapon; Hezbollah, in assaulting northern Israel, used the latter. These are not acts of protest, but calculated strategies for political advantage through undiluted violence. Hezbollah showed fascist methods both in its kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and in initiating that action without any consideration for the Lebanese government of which it was a member. Indeed, Lebanese democracy is a greater enemy of Hezbollah than Israel.

Fascism rested, from the economic perspective, on resentful middle classes, frustrated in their aspirations and anxious about loss of their position. The Italian middle class was insecure in its social status; the German middle class was completely devastated by the defeat of the country in the First World War. Both became irrational with rage at their economic difficulties; this passionate and uncontrolled fury was channeled and exploited by the acolytes of Mussolini and Hitler. Al-Qaida is based in sections of the Saudi, Pakistani, and Egyptian middle classes fearful, in the Saudi case, of losing their unstable hold on prosperity -- in Pakistan and Egypt, they are angry at the many obstacles, in state and society, to their ambitions. The constituency of Hezbollah is similar: the growing Lebanese Shia middle class, which believes itself to be the victim of discrimination.

Fascism was imperialistic; it demanded expansion of the German and Italian spheres of influence. Islamofascism has similar ambitions; the Wahhabis and their Pakistani and Egyptian counterparts seek control over all Sunni Muslims in the world, while Hezbollah projects itself as an ally of Syria and Iran in establishing regional dominance.

Fascism was totalitarian; i.e. it fostered a totalistic world view -- a distinct social reality that separated its followers from normal society. Islamofascism parallels fascism by imposing a strict division between Muslims and alleged unbelievers. For Sunni radicals, the practice of takfir -- declaring all Muslims who do not adhere to the doctrines of the Wahhabis, Pakistani Jama'atis, and the Muslim Brotherhood to be outside the Islamic global community or ummah -- is one expression of Islamofascism. For Hezbollah, the posture of total rejectionism in Lebanese politics -- opposing all politicians who might favor any political negotiation with Israel -- serves the same purpose. Takfir, or "excommunication" of ordinary Muslims, as well as Hezbollah's Shia radicalism, are also important as indispensable, unifying psychological tools for the strengthening of such movements.

Fascism was paramilitary; indeed, the Italian and German military elites were reluctant to accept the fascist parties' ideological monopoly. Al-Qaida and Hezbollah are both paramilitary.

I do not believe these characteristics are intrinsic to any element of the faith of Islam. Islamofascism is a distortion of Islam, exactly as Italian and German fascism represented perversions of respectable patriotism in those countries. Nobody argues today that Nazism possessed historical legitimacy as an expression of German nationalism; only Nazis would make such claims, to defend themselves. Similarly, Wahhabis and their allies argue that their doctrines are "just Islam." But German culture existed for centuries, and exists today, without submitting to Nazi values; Islam created a world-spanning civilization, surviving in a healthy condition in many countries today, without Wahhabism or political Shiism, both of which are less than 500 years old.

But what of those primitive Muslims who declare that "Islamofascism" is a slur? The Washington Post of August 14 quoted a speaker at a pro-Hezbollah demonstration in Washington, as follows: "'Mr. Bush: Stop calling Islam "Islamic fascism,' said Esam Omesh, president of the Muslim American Society, prompting a massive roar from the crowd. He said there is no such thing, 'just as there is no such thing as Christian fascism.'"

These curious comments may be parsed in various ways. Since President Bush used the term "Islamic fascists" to refer to a terrorist conspiracy, did Mr. Omesh (whose Muslim American Society is controlled by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood) intend to accept the equation of Islam with said terrorism, merely rejecting the political terminology he dislikes? Probably not. But Mr. Omesh's claim that "there is no such thing as Christian fascism" is evidence of profound historical ignorance. Leading analysts of fascism saw its Italian and German forms as foreshadowed by the Ku Klux Klan in the U.S. and the Russian counter-revolutionary mass movement known as the Black Hundreds. Both movements were based in Christian extremism, symbolized by burning crosses in America and pogroms against Jews under the tsars.

The fascist Iron Guard in Romania during the interwar period and in the second world war was explicitly Christian -- its official title was the "Legion of the Archangel Michael;" Christian fascism also exists in the form of Ulster Protestant terrorism, and was visible in the (Catholic) Blue Shirt movement active in the Irish Free State during the 1920s and 1930s. Both the Iron Guard and the Blue Shirts attracted noted intellectuals; the cultural theorist Mircea Eliade in the first case, the poet W.B Yeats in the second. Many similar cases could be cited. It is also significant that Mr. Omesh did not deny the existence of "Jewish fascism" -- doubtless because in his milieu, the term is commonly directed against Israel. Israel is not a fascist state, although some marginal, ultra-extremist Jewish groups could be so described.

I will conclude with a summary of a more obscure debate over the term, which is symptomatic of many forms of confusion in American life today. I noted at the beginning of this text that I am neither modest nor neutral on this topic. I developed the concept of Islamofascism after receiving an e-mail in June 2000 from a Bangladeshi Sufi Muslim living in America, titled "The Wahhabis: Fascism in Religious Garb!" I then resided in Kosovo. I put the term in print in The Spectator of London, on September 22, 2001. I was soon credited with it by Andrew Sullivan in his Daily Dish, and after it was attributed to Christopher Hitchens, the latter also acknowledged me as the earliest user of it. While working in Bosnia-Hercegovina more recently, I participated in a public discussion in which the Pakistani Muslim philosopher Fazlur Rahman (1919-88), who taught for years at the University of Chicago (not to be confused with the Pakistani radical Fazlur Rehman), was cited as referring to "Islamic fascists."

If such concerns seem absurdly self-interested, it is also interesting to observe how Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, dealt with the formulation of Islamofascism as an analytical tool. After a long and demeaning colloquy between me and a Wikipedian who commented negatively on an early book of mine while admitting that he had never even seen a copy of it, Wikipedia (referring to it collectively, as its members prefer) decided it to ascribe it to another historian of Islam, Malise Ruthven. But Ruthven, in 1990, used the term to refer to all authoritarian governments in Muslim countries, from Morocco to Pakistan.

I do not care much, these days, about Wikipedia and its misapprehensions, or obsess over acknowledgements of my work. But Malise Ruthven was and would remain wrong to believe that authoritarianism and fascism are the same. To emphasize, fascism is something different, and much worse, than simple dictatorship, however cruel the latter may be. That is a lesson that should have been learned 70 years ago, when German Nazism demonstrated that it was a feral and genocidal aberration in modern European history, not merely another form of oppressive rightist rule, or a particularly wild variety of colonialism.

Similarly, the violence wreaked by al-Qaida and Hezbollah, and by Saddam Hussein before them, has been different from other expressions of reactionary Arabism, simple Islamist ideology, or violent corruption in the post-colonial world. Between democracy, civilized values, and normal religion on one side, and Islamofascism on the other, there can be no compromise; as I have written before, it is a struggle to the death. President Bush is right to say "young democracies are fragile ... this may be [the Islamofascists'] last and best opportunity to stop freedom's advance." As with the Nazis, nothing short of a victory for democracy can assure the world's security.

Stephen Schwartz is Executive Director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism.

http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=081606C
 
 
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« Reply #134 on: August 16, 2006, 11:27:55 PM »

Capt:

I think the Holocaust cartoon contest should be a non-event.

Crafty Dog:

On the contrary, in a thread about dialog we should talk about dialog and cartoons are a way of speaking.

The Iranian cartoon contest is a response to the Danish cartoons about the prophet, the series of cartoons that provoked mayhem in some Muslim sectors, mayhem that the west, in the name of freedom of speech, deplored. The Danish cartoons, according to the west, are protected speech.

There is a law in Germany prohibiting the denial of the Holocaust. This is a priori censorship and quite contrary to the spirit of the First Amendment.

Having been there and having lost close family, I know from personal experience that the Holocaust was very much a reality. But how does a law that prohibits denying the Holocaust help us? All it does is to curtail freedom of speech and maybe it soothes Germany's sense of guilt about the Holocaust, a sense of guilt that also happens to be very real.

Strange as it may seem at first sight, wouldn't a cartoon war be better than a real war with blood and gore? What if we teach Islam to fight with ideas, with cartoons, as opposed to fighting with weapons including nuclear bombs?

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« Reply #135 on: August 19, 2006, 10:12:58 PM »

I'm just saying that however appropriate of a description you consider the term [islamofacist] to be, it's seen as an insult to a lot of people. ?If that's of no concern to you, fine, but then maybe the title of this thread should be "Muslim punching bags wanted for inflammatory discussion" instead of "an invitation to dialogue with Muslims".

What term would rogt use?? I believe there will be resistance in the muslim world to any term coined by westerners.? I can see how muslims can feel subjugated to western terminology (western hegemony) so to promote two-way dialog, can rogt explain to us his terminology for groups taking a literal interpretation of the koran ( stoning, amputation, jihad in context of martydom)? ? and seeking violent confrontation with the western world. Can Islam be expressed successfully within a pluralistic democracy?

What responsibilities, as a muslim , does rogt feel in confronting such groups and denouncing their terrorist tactics?

btw... i'm not offended by the term 'christian wacko'.? I'm sure I've used the term myself. It all depends on context doesn't it?
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« Reply #136 on: August 21, 2006, 07:25:56 AM »

Kenneth Dickerman for The New York Times
Pakistani immigrants and their American-born children flock to Devon Avenue in Chicago because of its traditional restaurants and goods.

         By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
Published: August 21, 2006
CHICAGO, Aug. 18 ? The stretch of Devon Avenue in North Chicago also named for Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, seems as if it has been transplanted directly from that country. The shops are packed with traditional wedding finery, and the spice mix in the restaurants? kebabs is just right.


 
Kenneth Dickerman for The New York Times
Businesses on Devon Avenue in Chicago, like an Islamic bookstore, attract a large Pakistani clientele.
Similar enclaves in Britain have been under scrutiny since they have proved to be a breeding ground for cells of terrorists, possibly including the 24 men arrested recently as suspects in a plot to blow up airliners flying out of London.

Yet Devon Avenue is in many ways different. Although heavily Pakistani, the street is far more exposed to other cultures than are similar communities in Britain.

Indian Hindus have a significant presence along the roughly one-and-a-half-mile strip of boutiques, whose other half is named for Gandhi. What was a heavily Jewish neighborhood some 20 years ago also includes recent immigrants from Colombia, Mexico and Ukraine, among others.

?There is integration even when you have an enclave,? said Nizam Arain, 32, a lawyer of Pakistani descent who was born and raised in Chicago. ?You don?t have the same siege mentality.?

Even so, members of the Pakistani immigrant community here find themselves joining the speculation as to whether sinister plots could be hatched in places like Devon (pronounced deh-VAHN) Avenue.

The most common response is no, at least not now, because of differences that have made Pakistanis in the United States far better off economically and more assimilated culturally than their counterparts in Britain. But some Pakistani-Americans do not rule out the possibility, given how little is understood about the exact tipping point that pushes angry young Muslim men to accept an ideology that endorses suicide and mass murder.

The idea of a relatively smaller, more prosperous, more striving immigrant community inoculating against terror cells goes only so far, they say.

?It makes it sound like it couldn?t happen here because we are the good immigrants: hard-working, close-knit, educated,? said Junaid Rana, an assistant professor of Asian-American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an American-born son of Pakistani immigrants. ?But we are talking about a cult mind-set, how a cult does its brainwashing.?

Yet one major difference between the United States and Britain, some say, is the United States? historical ideal of being a melting-pot meritocracy.

?You can keep the flavor of your ethnicity, but you are expected to become an American,? said Omer Mozaffar, 34, a Pakistani-American raised here who is working toward a doctorate in Islamic studies at the University of Chicago.

Britain remains far more rigid. In the United States, for example, Pakistani physicians are more likely to lead departments at hospitals or universities than they are in Britain, said Dr. Tariq H. Butt, a 52-year-old family physician who arrived in the United States 25 years ago for his residency.

Nationwide, Pakistanis appear to be prospering. The census calculated that mean household income in the United States in 2002 was $57,852 annually, while that for Asian households, which includes Pakistanis, was $70,047. By contrast, about one-fifth of young British-born Muslims are jobless, and many subsist on welfare.

Hard numbers on how many people of Pakistani descent live in the United States do not exist, but a forthcoming book from Harvard University Press on charitable donations among Pakistani-Americans, ?Portrait of a Giving Community,? puts the number around 500,000, with some 35 percent or more of them in the New York metropolitan area. Chicago has fewer than 100,000, while other significant clusters exist in California, Texas and Washington, D.C.

Pakistani immigration to the United States surged after laws in the 1960?s made it easier for Asians to enter the country. Most were drawn by jobs in academia, medicine and engineering. It was only in the late 1980?s and 90?s that Pakistanis arrived to work blue-collar jobs as taxi drivers or shopkeepers, said Adil Najam, the author of the book on donations and an international relations professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

In Britain, by comparison, the first Pakistanis arrived after World War II to work in factories. Many were fleeing sectarian strife in Kashmir ? a lingering source of resentment ? and entire communities picked up and resettled together. This created Pakistani ghettos in cities like Bradford and Birmingham, whereas in the United States immigrants tended to be scattered and newcomers forced to assimilate. The trends intensified with time.

A decade ago, for example, a Pakistani in Chicago who wanted to buy halal meat, from animals butchered in a religiously sanctioned manner, could find it only on Devon Avenue. Now halal butchers dot the city and its suburbs.

Thousands of immigrants and their American-born offspring still flock to Devon Avenue because of its restaurants and traditional goods, including wedding saris for women and long, elaborate shirts and gilded slippers with curled toes for men. The avenue?s half-dozen rudimentary mosques have a reputation for being more conservative than those elsewhere in Chicago, with the imams emphasizing an adherence to Muslim tradition.



 
Published: August 21, 2006
(Page 2 of 2)



?They go to an area where they have a feeling of nostalgia, and even psychologically it is important for immigrant communities to feel that their home country is represented,? said Dr. Butt, an early member of the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America, one of the oldest immigrant organizations here.

But immigrants are not mired in the Devon Avenue neighborhood; many move out once they can afford better. Unlike the situation in Britain, there is no collective history here of frustrated efforts to assimilate into a society where a shortened form of Pakistani is a stinging slur, and there are no centuries-old grievances nursed from British colonial rule over what became Pakistan.

Where such comparisons fail, however, is in providing a model to predict why some young Muslims turn to violence, although no religion is immune. In the United States there have been a few cases of young Pakistani men being arrested or tried in terror plots, in Atlanta and in Lodi, Calif., for example.

Ifti Nasim, a former luxury car salesman turned poet and gay rights advocate, greets a visitor with a slim volume of his works. The cover photograph shows him wearing a bright orange dress, ropes of pearls and a long blond wig. He has been in the United States since 1971.

Some shoppers crowding the sidewalks on Devon Avenue greet Mr. Nasim warmly, telling him they listen to his radio show or read his columns in a local Urdu-language newspaper. In Pakistan, Mr. Nasim says, his flamboyance would not be tolerated, but here he calls his acceptance ?the litmus test of the society.?

Like many, however, he has moments of doubt, saying, ?Pakistani society in Chicago has made a smooth transition so far, but you never know.?

A more important factor in determining who becomes a militant is most likely the feeling of being stigmatized as less than equal, community activists say, noting that such discrimination remains far more common in Britain. It is probably compounded by the fact that violence against Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Lebanon feels so much closer there, they say.

Overt bigotry is rarer here, but it exists. For instance, Mohamed Hanis, a taxi driver who is a Pakistani immigrant, said that on the Friday night after the terror alert in London, a young white man climbed into his cab. Noticing the name Mohamed, the man threatened to report that Mr. Hanis had admitted to supporting terrorist attacks unless he could get a free ride. Instead, Mr. Hanis hailed a police officer who forced the passenger to pay.

Mr. Mozaffar, the University of Chicago student, said he had grown up with revered Muslim role models like Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabar, but now there were none. He teaches religion classes for young Muslims, and the question inevitably arises whether the creed justifies using violence for political or religious aims. He emphasizes that Islam forbids killing innocent civilians, and community members here have said they will not tolerate a mosque prayer leader advocating violence.

Initial reports about the British suspects quoted neighbors as saying that some of the men had become more religious, adopting Islamic dress and praying five times a day. That kind of transformation happens in Chicago, too, but the idea that any such change should automatically arouse suspicion rather than be considered teenage rebellion or a religious conversion makes community activists bridle.

For the past eight years, Abdul Qadeer Sheikh, 46, has managed Islamic Books N Things on Devon Avenue, which sells items like Korans, prayer rugs and Arabic alphabet books. He says that since Sept. 11, he has seen signs of the bias that has existed in Britain for decades developing here. He describes a distinctive fear of being seen as Muslim, even along Devon Avenue. Before, a good 70 percent of the women who came into his shop were veiled, he said. Now the reverse is true, and far fewer men wear traditional clothes.

The attitude of the American government in adopting terms like ?Islamic fascists? and deporting large numbers of immigrants, he said, makes Muslims feel marked, as if they do not belong here. ?The society in the United States is much fairer to foreigners than anywhere else,? he said, ?but that mood is changing.?


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rogt
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« Reply #137 on: August 21, 2006, 10:44:21 AM »

What term would rogt use?  I believe there will be resistance in the muslim world to any term coined by westerners. 

I don't think Muslims are offended by the terms "Muslim", "terrorist", or "Islamic fundamentalist".  I personally don't find it difficult to discuss this topic without saying "Islamofascist".

Quote
What responsibilities, as a muslim , does rogt feel in confronting such groups and denouncing their terrorist tactics?

Since I'm not Muslim, I couldn't say.

Quote
btw... i'm not offended by the term 'christian wacko'.  I'm sure I've used the term myself. It all depends on context doesn't it?

I don't know any white people who are offended by "honky" or "cracker", but that doesn't make "nigger" any less offensive to blacks.
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nasigoreng
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« Reply #138 on: August 22, 2006, 11:09:57 AM »


Quote
What responsibilities, as a muslim , does rogt feel in confronting such groups and denouncing their terrorist tactics?

Since I'm not Muslim, I couldn't say.

I apologize for my assumption
Quote
Quote
btw... i'm not offended by the term 'christian wacko'.? I'm sure I've used the term myself. It all depends on context doesn't it?

I don't know any white people who are offended by "honky" or "cracker", but that doesn't make "nigger" any less offensive to blacks.

on the contrary, i've heard black persons use that term amongst themselves unashamedly. But if a white person says it, that's completely different.

This reminds me of an initiative in Malaysia that was trying to outlaw Islamic expressions (alllah ahkbar, wassalam alaikum, etc...) to be forbiden to non-muslims: so non-muslims would be breaking the law if they used those expressions.? And this is a small example of what IMHO is a bonafide agenda in western countries on the part of muslim immigrants..... to strive for a separate law process (sharia) applicable only to muslims.

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"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
    Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.
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« Reply #139 on: August 22, 2006, 11:55:41 AM »

Quick side note:

on the contrary, i've heard black persons use that term amongst themselves unashamedly. But if a white person says it, that's completely different.


As a black male, perhaps I can through a little light on the subject. In the african-american community "Nigga" is used by many as a term of endearment and "Nigger" is considered by all to be a racial slur.

My father taught me to see both in a negative light, so I never used either word.
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ch
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« Reply #140 on: August 22, 2006, 03:37:25 PM »

beliefs sure are funny huh? they all are kinda funny.people fighting and dying over whats in their head.what a joke! sooner or later this bullshit will have to end.earths resouces are runing out and we will all have to share hahahaha so have fun with your silly religons and hold on to them tight.i see us as one race one planet.this is the future.maybe it should be "belief system facist"? drop acid not bombs! that just might do it!
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« Reply #141 on: September 07, 2006, 11:16:12 PM »

For those of you not familiar with this author, he is a retired colonel with substantial military background in the mideast.
====================================

ISLAM-HATERS: AN ENEMY WITHIN
By RALPH PETERS

September 7, 2006 -- ISLAMIST fanatics attacked us and yearn to destroy us. The Muslim civilization of the Middle East has failed comprehensively and will continue to generate violence. The only way to deal with faith-poisoned terrorists is to kill them.

And the world's only hope for long-term peace is for moderate Muslims - by far the majority around the globe - to recapture their own faith.

But a rotten core of American extremists is out to make it harder for them.

The most repugnant trend in the American shouting match that passes for a debate on the struggle with Islamist terrorism isn't the irresponsible nonsense on the left - destructive though that is. The really ugly "domestic insurgency" is among right-wing extremists bent on discrediting honorable conservatism.

How? By insisting that Islam can never reform, that the violent conquest and subjugation of unbelievers is the faith's primary agenda - and, when you read between the lines, that all Muslims are evil and subhuman.

I've received no end of e-mails and letters seeking to "enlighten" me about the insidious nature of Islam. Convinced that I'm naive because I defend American Muslims and refuse to "see" that Islam is 100 percent evil, the writers warn that I'm a foolish "dhimmi," blind to the conspiratorial nature of Islam.

Web sites list no end of extracts from historical documents and Islamic jurisprudence "proving" that holy war against Christians and Jews is the alpha and omega of the Muslim faith. The message between the lines: Muslims are Untermenschen.

We've been here before, folks. Bigotry is bigotry - even when disguised as patriotism. And, invariably, the haters fantasizing about a merciless Crusade never bothered to serve in our military (Hey, guys, there's still time to join. Lay your backsides on the line - and send your kids!).

It's time for our own fanatics to look in the mirror. Hard. (And stop sending me your trash. I'll never sign up for your "Protocols of the Elders of Mecca." You're just the Ku Klux Klan with higher-thread-count sheets.)

As for the books and Web sites listing all those passages encouraging violence against the infidel, well, we could fill entire libraries with bloody-minded texts from the Christian past. And as a believing Christian, I must acknowledge that there's nothing in the Koran as merciless as God's behavior in the Book of Joshua.

Another trait common among those warning us that Islam is innately evil is that few have spent any time in the Muslim world. Well, I have. While the Middle East leaves me ever more despairing of its future, elsewhere, from Senegal to Sulawesi, from Delhi to Dearborn, I've seen no end of vibrant, humane, hopeful currents in the Muslim faith.

I'm no Pollyanna. I'm all for killing terrorists, rather than taking them prisoner. I know we're in a fight for our civilization. But the fight is with the fanatics - a minority of a minority - not with those who simply worship differently than those of us who grew up with the Little Brown Church in the Vale.

Does Islam foster practices that inhibit progress or integration into the modern (and postmodern) world? Yes, as practiced in the greater Middle East, from the Nile to the Indus. Our "allies," the Saudi ruling family, are the embodiment of evil - but they've done far more damage to the Muslim world than to us.

Elsewhere, Muslims are struggling to move their faith forward in constructive ways. And all religions are what living men and women make of them.

In our own country, we should respect our fellow citizens who happen to be Muslims - instead of implying that they're all members of a devious fifth column. More than 3 million Americans profess Islam. How many have strapped on bombs and walked into Wal-Mart?

Sure, bad actors will emerge. But every immigrant group has produced its gangsters, demagogues and common criminals. Fools who insist that "Muslims can't be good Americans" insult both Muslims and America - whose transformative genius should never be underestimated.

The problem isn't the man or woman of faith, but cultural environment. Once free of the maladies of the Middle East, Muslims thrive in America. Like the rest of us.

We are in a knife-fight to the death with fanatics who've perverted a great religion. But those who warn of Muslims in general are heirs of the creeps who once told us Jews can never be real Americans and JFK will serve the Vatican.

Obviously, there's a moral reason for not condemning all Muslims. Real Americans judge men and women by their individual characters and actions, not by the color of their skin or the liturgy they recite on their respective Sabbaths. Sorry, all you bigots: You'll never get the Wannsee Conference, Part II, at Lake Tahoe.

But even for our inveterate haters, those whose personal disappointments have left them with a need to blame others (sounds like al Qaeda to me . . . ), there's a Realpolitik reason not to insult all Muslims: In the serious world of strategy and the military, you don't make unnecessary enemies.

We've got our hands full in the Middle East. Why alienate the Muslims of Indonesia or West Africa (or California)? A wise strategist seeks to divide his enemies, not to recruit for them. Some of the bigots out there might like to try to kill a billion Muslims, but I'm not signing up for their genocidal daydreams - nor will my fellow Americans.

Ultimately, our military actions can only buy time. The long overdue liberal reformation within the Islamic world can only be carried out by Muslims themselves. Those who believe in Islam with all their hearts will have to be the ones who defeat those who hijacked their faith.

Do we have to fight? Yes. But let's fight our true enemies, not the innocent.

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Bob Burgee
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« Reply #142 on: September 08, 2006, 02:53:57 PM »

Hello Ponytotts,

I sent you an email addressing this issue. I checked your public forum account and it wasn't active. I've re-activated it. Let me know if you have any further trouble with your account.

FYI, I would suggest composing your message in notepad or some other text editor if you need 60 - 90 minutes to compose. This will eliminate any risk of losing your data. I've had it happen to myself as well.

Please let me know if you need further assistance.

All the best.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #143 on: September 09, 2006, 11:19:29 PM »

ARLINGTON, Va. - Iran's former president decried a wave of "Islamophobia" that he said is being spread in the United States by fear and hatred of Islam in response to terror perpetrated by Muslims.

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"In the crime of 9/11, two crimes were committed," Mohammad Khatami said. "One was killing innocent people. The second crime was masking this crime in the name of Islam."

Under smothering security, with dozens of uniformed police and plainclothes American security personnel provided by the State Department, Khatami spoke Friday night at an event sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations called "The Dialogue of Civilizations: Five Years After 9/11."

Khatami is visiting the United States for two weeks, coming to this Washington suburb after two days in the nation's capital. Unlike at an appearance Thursday night in the Washington National Cathedral, no protesters were evident outside the hotel where he spoke. Multiple marked and unmarked security vehicles were outside, and a segment of Jefferson Davis Highway, a main Arlington artery, was shut down while he was there. At least one helicopter swooped repeatedly over the area.

Khatami, the most senior Iranian to visit Washington in a quarter-century, spoke in front of American and Iranian flags, draped in each other's folds.

The talk broke no new ground for Khatami, considered a reformist during his two terms as president that ended last year. He was among the first foreign leaders to condemn the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. His visit to the United States drew criticism from some politicians and others because of the bitter contention now under way between Iran and the United States over actions of his successor, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad

He told his audience through an interpreter that in conditions that have followed the Sept. 11 attacks, American Muslims should show their countrymen by example that they, not terrorists, represent Islam.

"Demonstrate to others that whatever is said about Islam in the media is not correct" and combat the "wave of Islamophobia and hatred of Islam that we unfortunately are experiencing today," he said.

He laid out three goals for Muslims: "Your responsibility and our responsibility is to be first a good citizen in whatever country you live; to try for yourself and your children to move up the ladder of social achievement and education; and third is to fight the vague Islamophobia that has been created by those who don't have the best interests of Islam at heart."

He said "killers who go among others and kill others in acts of terror, if they identify themselves with Islam, they are lying. You Muslims who live in the United States should be representatives of enlightenment and don't allow those who create this Islamophobia" to speak for the religion.
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« Reply #144 on: September 10, 2006, 09:24:38 AM »

y ANDREA ELLIOTT
Published: September 10, 2006
America?s newest Muslims arrive in the afternoon crunch at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Their planes land from Dubai, Casablanca and Karachi. They stand in line, clasping documents. They emerge, sometimes hours later, steering their carts toward a flock of relatives, a stream of cabs, a new life.

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Sept. 11: Five Years Later
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After 9/11: The Immigrant Experience
This was the path for Nur Fatima, a Pakistani woman who moved to Brooklyn six months ago and promptly shed her hijab. Through the same doors walked Nora Elhainy, a Moroccan who sells electronics in Queens, and Ahmed Youssef, an Egyptian who settled in Jersey City, where he gives the call to prayer at a palatial mosque.

?I got freedom in this country,? said Ms. Fatima, 25. ?Freedom of everything. Freedom of thought.?

The events of Sept. 11 transformed life for Muslims in the United States, and the flow of immigrants from countries like Egypt, Pakistan and Morocco thinned sharply.

But five years later, as the United States wrestles with questions of terrorism, civil liberties and immigration control, Muslims appear to be moving here again in surprising numbers, according to statistics collected by the Department of Homeland Security and the Census Bureau.

Immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia are planting new roots in states from Virginia to Texas to California.

In 2005, more people from Muslim countries became legal permanent United States residents ? nearly 96,000 ? than in any year in the previous two decades.

More than 40,000 of them were admitted last year, the highest annual number since the terrorist attacks, according to data on 22 countries provided by the Department of Homeland Security.

Many have made the journey unbowed by tales of immigrant hardship, and despite their own opposition to American policy in the Middle East. They come seeking the same promise that has drawn foreigners to the United States for many decades, according to a range of experts and immigrants: economic opportunity and political freedom.

Those lures, both powerful and familiar, have been enough to conquer fears that America is an inhospitable place for Muslims.

?America has always been the promised land for Muslims and non-Muslims,? said Behzad Yaghmaian, an Iranian exile and author of ?Embracing the Infidel: Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West.? ?Despite Muslims? opposition to America?s foreign policy, they still come here because the United States offers what they?re missing at home.?

For Ms. Fatima, it was the freedom to dress as she chose and work as a security guard. For Mr. Youssef, it was the chance to earn a master?s degree.

He came in spite of the deep misgivings that he and many other Egyptians have about the war in Iraq and the Bush administration. In America, he said, one needs to distinguish between the government and the people.

?Who am I dealing with, Bush or the American public?? he said. ?Am I dealing with my future in Egypt or my future here??

Muslims have been settling in the United States in significant numbers since the mid-1960?s, after immigration quotas that favored Eastern Europeans were lifted. Spacious mosques opened in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York as a new, highly educated Muslim population took hold.

Over the next three decades, the story of Muslim migration to the United States was marked by growth and prosperity. A larger percentage of immigrants from Muslim countries have graduate degrees than other American residents, and their average salary is about 20 percent higher, according to census data.

But Sept. 11 altered the course of Muslim life in America. Mosques were vandalized. Hate crimes rose. Deportation proceedings began against thousands of men.

Some Muslims changed their names to avoid job discrimination, making Mohammed ?Moe,? and Osama ?Sam.? Scores of families left for Canada.

Yet this period also produced something strikingly positive, in the eyes of many Muslims: they began to mobilize politically and socially. Across the country, grass-roots groups expanded to educate Muslims on civil rights, register them to vote and lobby against new federal policies such as the Patriot Act.

?There was the option of becoming introverted or extroverted,? said Agha Saeed, national chairman of the American Muslim Task Force on Civil Rights and Elections, an umbrella organization in Newark, Calif. ?We became extroverted.?



Page 2 of 2)



In some ways, new Muslim immigrants may be better off in the post-9/11 America they encounter today, say Muslim leaders: Islamic centers are more organized, and resources like English instruction and free legal help are more accessible.

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After 9/11: The Immigrant Experience
But outside these newly organized mosques, life remains strained for many Muslims. To avoid taunts, women are often warned not to wear head scarves in public, as was Rubab Razvi, 21, a Pakistani who arrived in Brooklyn nine months ago. (She ignored the advice, even though people stare at her on the bus, she said.) Muslims continue to endure long waits at airports, where they are often tagged for questioning.

To some longtime immigrants, the life embraced by newcomers will never compare to the peaceful era that came before.

?They haven?t seen the America pre-9/11,? said Khwaja Mizan Hassan, 42, who left Bangladesh 30 years ago. He rose to become the president of Jamaica Muslim Center, a mosque in Queens, and has a comfortable job with the New York City Department of Probation.

But after Sept. 11, he was stopped at Kennedy Airport because his name matched one on a watch list.

A Drop, Then a Surge

Up to six million Muslims live in the United States, by some estimates. While the Census Bureau and the Department of Homeland Security do not track religion, both provide statistics on immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries. It is presumed that many of these immigrants are Muslim, but people of other faiths, such as Iraqi Chaldeans and Egyptian Copts, have also come in appreciable numbers.

Immigration from these regions slowed considerably after Sept. 11. Fewer people were issued green cards and nonimmigrant visas. By 2003, the number of immigrants arriving from 22 Muslim countries had declined by more than a third. For students, tourists and other nonimmigrants from these countries, the drop was even more dramatic, with total visits down by nearly half.

The falloff affected immigrants from across the post-9/11 world as America tightened its borders, but it was most pronounced among those moving here from Pakistan, Morocco, Iran and other Muslim nations.

Several factors might explain the drop: more visa applications were rejected due to heightened security procedures, said officials at the State Department and Department of Homeland Security; and fewer people applied for visas.

But starting in 2004, the numbers rebounded. The tally of people coming to live in the United States from Bangladesh, Turkey, Algeria and other Muslim countries rose by 20 percent, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data.

The uptick was also notable among foreigners with nonimmigrant visas. More than 55,000 Indonesians, for instance, were issued those visas last year, compared with roughly 36,000 in 2002.

The rise does not reflect relaxed security measures, but a higher number of visa applications and greater efficiency in processing them, said Chris Bentley, a spokesman for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of Homeland Security.

Like other immigrants, Muslims find their way to the United States in myriad ways: they come as refugees, or as students and tourists. Others arrive with immigrant visas secured by relatives here. A lucky few win the green-card lottery.

Ahmed Youssef, 29, never thought he would be among the winners. But in 2003, Mr. Youssef, who taught Arabic in Egypt, was one of 50,000 people randomly chosen from 9.5 million applicants around the world.

As he prepared to leave Benha, a city north of Cairo, some friends asked him how he could move to a country that is ?killing people in Iraq and Afghanistan,? he recalled. But others who had been to the United States encouraged him to go.

He arrived in May 2005, and he found work loading hot dog carts from sunrise to sundown. He shared an apartment in Washington Heights with other Egyptians, but for the first month, he never saw his neighborhood in daylight.

?I joked to my roommates, ?When am I going to see America?? ? said Mr. Youssef, a slight man with thinning black hair and an easy smile.

Only three months later, when he began selling hot dogs on Seventh Avenue, did Mr. Youssef discover his new country.

He missed hearing the call to prayer, and thought nothing of unrolling his prayer rug beside his cart until other vendors warned him against it. He could be mistaken for an extremist, they told him.

Eventually, Mr. Youssef found a job as the secretary of the Islamic Center of Jersey City. He plans to apply to a master?s program at Columbia University, specializing in Arabic. For now, he lives in a spare room above the mosque. Near his bed, he keeps a daily log of his prayers. If he makes them on time, he writes ?Correct? in Arabic. ?I am much better off here than selling hot dogs,? he said.

Awash in American Flags

Nur Fatima landed in Midwood, Brooklyn, at a propitious time. Had she come three years earlier, she would have seen a neighborhood in crisis.

Hundreds of Pakistani immigrants disappeared after being asked to register with the government. Thirty shops closed along a stretch of Coney Island Avenue known as Little Pakistan. The number of new Urdu-speaking pupils at the local elementary school, Public School 217, dropped by half in the 2002-3 school year.

But then Little Pakistan got organized. A local businessman, Moe Razvi, converted a former antique store into a community center offering legal advice, computer classes and English instruction. Local Muslim leaders began meeting with federal agents to soothe relations.

The annual Pakistan Independence Day parade is now awash in American flags.

It is a transformation seen in Muslim immigrant communities around the nation.

?They have to prove that they are living here as Muslim Americans rather than living as Pakistanis and Egyptians and other nationalities,? said Zahid H. Bukhari, the director of the American Muslim Studies Program at Georgetown University.

Ms. Fatima arrived in Brooklyn from Pakistan in March with an immigrant visa. She began by taking English classes at Mr. Razvi?s center, the Council of Peoples Organization.

She has heard stories of the neighborhood?s former plight but sees a different picture.

?This is a land of opportunity,? Ms. Fatima said. ?There is equality for everyone.?

Five days after she came to Brooklyn, Ms. Fatima removed her head scarf, which she had been wearing since she was 10. She began to change her thinking, she said: She liked living in a country where people respected the privacy of others and did not interfere with their religious or social choices.

?I came to the United States because I want to improve myself,? she said. ?This is a second birth for me.?
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« Reply #145 on: September 10, 2006, 10:25:52 PM »

http://www.myspace.com/city_of_los_angeles

6. the U.S. is the only military in the world capable of doing the greatest GOOD (caveat: without re-training/vision, probably the greatest EVIL).? the U.S. military along w/ diplomats, students, volunteers, the media, etc. now have the responsibility to bring the FREE flow of everything (goods, ideas, education, people, etc. etc.) to EVERYONE else.


* re-train the military, so that every soldier starts thinking more like a police officer (i.e. fairness, knowledge of culture, be able to balance violence and compassion, diplomacy, information gathering w/ in the constitutional framework~consensual, resonable suspicion, probable cause, etc.)




The purpose of the U.S. military is not to provide services like a police officer, that is what the police is for.? Your VISION comment is rather funny too; they are THE MILITARY man!? They locate, close with and DESTROY the enemy!? Yes, they have training on how to proffesionally deal with situations they wouldn't normally see in combat, i.e. policing a civilian population.? I find the "be able to balance violence and compasison," OFFENSIVE!? the U.S. media doesn't report ANY good that the our armed forces do for the civilians in AF or IQ.? Here is something for ya; did you read about the little girl a squad of Rangers saved from a mine field when they dropped a couple of 20" ladders through the minefield so they had a safe path to walk on?? No you didn't, that was showing something good we did, btw the little girl lived, my brother was able to stop the bleeding.? ?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #146 on: September 13, 2006, 11:45:14 PM »

Forwarded to me by a friend:

This article, written in 1946 is amazing accurate in portraying the issues still faced today. What is also important is that it details some history of Mohammed, Islam, and the radical sects. ?Reading of the article shows that the problem of fundamental Islam began long before the US became active in the area. It was a threat that has been around for centuries. To blame the US for the problems today is to deny the history of the area.

Assessing the Islamist Threat, Circa 1946
Middle East Quarterly
Summer 2006

In 1946, U.S. power was on the ascent. A U.S. nuclear bomb had hastened the end of World War II and, while the Cold War was beginning, the United States remained the world's only nuclear power. As the international community rebuilt from the ashes of war and the United Nations sought to preserve peace, the military intelligence division of the U.S. War Department?the predecessor of today's Defense Intelligence Agency?charged its analysts to speculate on long-term threats to global security. One resulting essay, which appeared in the classified periodical Intelligence Review,[1] identified the Islamic world as a region of concern.

Written just over than six decades ago, the resulting analysis is prescient.[2] The report describes a region beset by "discontent and frustration" and handicapped by a collective inferiority complex, yet unable to overcome "intellectual inaction," a situation which would keep the region from advancing in the modern world. The analysts speculate correctly about the growing importance of the Arab media and the divisive force of nationalism.

Ironically, while many academics today would dismiss as culturally insensitive the authors' frankness and generalizations about peoples and religion, the assumption that culture matters holds true. Many of the report's observations mirror those made in recent years by the United Nations' own Arab Human Development Report, which, if anything, is more pessimistic. In 1946, observers of the Middle East still had hope that increasing literacy and ease of travel would lead the region to become more cosmopolitan. While they raised concerns about nascent Islamist movements, they did not foresee just how malignant such groups could become, nor did they envision that oil-rich states such as Saudi Arabia would fund extremism rather than regional development.

As important as what the authors do say is what they do not. While it has become trendy in some academic and diplomatic circles to blame terrorism and regional instability on Israel's existence, the War Department's report suggests these problems?and anti-Semitism as well?predated the Jewish state. Many Arab states complained about Jewish immigration to Palestine, but the report's authors suggest local governments cynically promoted such concerns, and Muslims farther afield had different priorities. Well before Israel's independence and the 1967 war, Arab and Islamist groups embraced terrorism, using it for purposes unrelated to Zionism. Accordingly, while the scapegoating of Israel may be fashionable in the foreign ministries of Arab states, the European Union, and the diplomatic parlors of the United Nations, the 1946 report shows that responsibility for the political, economic, and social failings of the region are far more complex and deeply-rooted.

?The Editors

The Moslem world sprawls around half the east, from the Pacific across Asia and Africa to the Atlantic, along one of the greatest of trade routes; in its center is an area extremely rich in oil; over it will run some of the most strategically important air routes.

With few exceptions, the states which it includes are marked by poverty, ignorance, and stagnation. It is full of discontent and frustration, yet alive with consciousness of its inferiority and with determination to achieve some kind of general betterment.

Two basic urges meet head-on in this area, and conflict is inherent in this collision of interests. These urges reveal themselves in daily news accounts of killings and terrorism, of pressure groups in opposition, and of raw nationalism and naked expansionism masquerading as diplomatic maneuvers. The urges tie together the tangled threads of power politics which?snarled in the lap of the United Nations Assembly?lead back to the centers of Islamic pressure and to the capitals of the world's biggest nations.

The first of these urges originates within the Moslems' own sphere. The Moslems remember the power with which once they not only ruled their own domains but also overpowered half of Europe, yet they are painfully aware of their present economic, cultural, and military impoverishment. Thus a terrific internal pressure is building up in their collective thinking. The Moslems intend, by any means possible, to regain political independence and to reap the profits of their own resources, which in recent times and up to the present have been surrendered to the exploitation of foreigners who could provide capital investments. The area, in short, has an inferiority complex, and its activities are thus as unpredictable as those of any individual so motivated.

The other fundamental urge originates externally. The world's great and near-great powers cover the economic riches of the Moslem area and are also mindful of the strategic locations of some of the domains. Their actions are also difficult to predict, because each of these powers sees itself in the position of the customer who wants to do his shopping in a hurry because he happens to know the store is going to be robbed.

In an atmosphere so sated with the inflammable gases of distrust and ambition, the slightest spark could lead to an explosion which might implicate every country committed to the maintenance of world peace through the United Nations Organization. An understanding of the Moslem world and of the stresses and forces operative within it is thus an essential part of the basic intelligence framework.

History of the Moslems
The influence which integrates the Moslems is their religion, Islam. This religion began officially in the year 622 A.D., when Mahomet [Muhammad] was driven from Mecca because of his preaching of a synthesis of Jewish and Christian heresy, and took flight to Yathrib (Al-Medinah). Taking advantage of the age-old feud between the two towns, he soon rallied an army to his side, made extensive compromises with Medinah paganism, and attacked Mecca. At his death in 632 A.D., he was the master of all Arabia.

His successors, the Caliphs (or Khalifs) quickly overran much of the known world; they reached India and penetrated TransCaspiana and Musa ibn Tariq, and crossed the straits at the western end of the Mediterranean, giving to the mountainous rock at their entrance the name of Jebel al-Tariq (the mountain of Tariq), which the Spaniards later corrupted to "Gibraltar." In 732 A.D.?just one century after the death of the Prophet?the Moslem advance in Western Europe was finally turned back at Tours, France, by Charles Martel. To the north of Arabia, the Byzantine Kingdom held back the Moslem tide until the 15th century, when Constantinople fell and central Europe became a Turkish province. From that high point, Moslem expansion gradually receded. Although for centuries the Moslem world had been contributing to western arts, science, and trade, a period of increasing sterility set in, and during the next 400 years, the Moslems advanced very little in any phase of human endeavor.

At the present time there are no strong Moslem states. The leadership of the Moslem world remains in the Middle East, particularly in Arabia. This area lies near the geographical center of Eurasia's population, with industrial Europe to the west and the agricultural countries of India, Indonesia, and China to the east. Through it passes the Suez Canal; and north of it lie fabulously rich oil fields around the Persian Gulf.

Present Forces Tending to Weaken Moslem Unity
The many forces tending to tear the Moslem world apart have been so strong that there has been no central Moslem authority since the 8th century; the factors which generate disunity are discussed briefly below.

1. Lack of a common language.?Moslems east and south of the Tigris River (except those in Malaya and Indonesia) usually speak Urdu, Persian, or Turkish. West of the Tigris River, the dominant language is Arabic, but its far western dialects are unintelligible to the eastern Arab.

2. Religious schisms.?The oldest of these schisms is the Sunni-Shiah controversy, which arose in the 8th century. The eastern Caliphate, with its capital at Baghdad, gave impetus to the Shiah sect, but it was not until the 17th century that the Shiah creed was officially adopted in Iran. The majority of Moslems, however, belong to the Sunni (unorthodox) sect although islands of Shiah believers exist in Sunni regions. Neither sect has a recognized leader. In theory the Sunni should have a Caliph, a successor to the Prophet; but the historic Caliphate came to an end in Baghdad around 1350, and there have since been only "captive" Caliphs?puppets set up by secular powers and not generally recognized. The Emir Husayn of Mecca desired the British to recognize him as Caliph in 1916, and in recent years King Faruq (Farouk) of Egypt has made gestures indicating he would be willing to play the part. Nationalism keeps the Moslems apart, however, and no serious bid for the traditional role of a leader of Islam now exists.

Islam is also beset with modern movements which try to make it conform to new historical evidence and to modern psychology and science. These have included a reform movement known as Babism, which appeared a century ago in Iran, followed by Bahaism, which adopted many features of the former.

Along with "the acids of modernity," there have been atavistic movements designed to preserve the original "purity of Islam." In 1703 an Arab chieftain, Abdul Wahab, revived a fanatically purist faith, which soon swept over all Arabia. Thousands of "pagan Moslems" were massacred at Mecca by desert adherents of the new faith. Around 1850 the movement suffered eclipse but again appeared in 1903, led by Abdul Aziz of the Saud family. Again it overran the Arabian Peninsula, and it is now the recognized faith of Saudi Arabia. These Wahabis believe that the Koran is the only source of faith and that it contains the only precepts for war, commerce, and politics; they regard any innovation as heresy.

Paralleling this reactionary tendency, there have appeared in Egypt and elsewhere several societies that stress Islamic culture; these are openly anti-European and secretly anti-Christian and anti-Jewish. The best known is the Ikhwan el-Muslimin (Brotherhood of Moslems), which encourages youth movements and maintains commando units and secret caches of arms (it is reported to have 60,000 to 70,000 rifles). The militant societies, such as the Shahab Muhammad (Youth of Mahomet) and the Misr al-Fattat (Young Egypt), are led by demagogues and political opportunists. They issue clandestine pamphlets, attack the government, stir up hatred of the British, and sow the seeds of violence. In recent months, Premier Ahmad Maher of Egypt was assassinated, and former Premier Nahas Pasha was wounded by people associated with these groups. Christian minorities in the Middle East fear these fanatical and nationalistic Moslem societies which exploit the ignorance and poverty of the masses, and even the more enlightened Moslem leaders must cater to their fanaticism in order to retain their positions.

3. Geographical isolation.?The Indian Moslem knows little or nothing of his fellow believers in Mongolia and Morocco. To a Sudanese, Turkey and Iran are meaningless terms. High mountains, broad deserts, and great distances separate one group from another, and provincialism has inevitably resulted.

4. Economic disparities.?Throughout the Moslem world, social conditions closely approximate medieval feudalism. In Egypt, a few thousand people own the land on which 15 million labor as share croppers. In Saudi Arabia, where the purest desert "democracy" exists, the contrast between the living conditions of the peasant and the feudal land-holding classes is very great. That contrast is common throughout the whole Moslem world, where the lack of industrial development has made it easier than elsewhere to retain the feudal system of exploiting the land and the peasants. Social reform has been given only lip service, and the Moslem peasants have a growing conviction, stimulated by Soviet propaganda, that the landowners are their worst enemy. In northern Iran, the peasants have openly revolted under the instigation and protection of the Red Army, and such a revolt can happen anywhere in the Moslem world.

5. Political rivalries and nationalism.?The Iranian has always looked upon the Arab as a wild man and upon the Turk as a "son of a dog"; the Turk in turn considers the Iranian a degenerate but agrees with his views of the Arab; and so goes the cycle of animosity. These mutual dislikes have existed for centuries, but they have a deeper meaning in the present era of nationalism. For example, after exiling the puppet "Caliph" in 1923, the Turks completely nationalized the idea of Islam. Pilgrimages ceased almost entirely, the Koran was translated into Turkish, and all prayers were put into that language. Oaths no longer needed to be made on the Koran, but on one's honor. Thus, the roots of Islam were cut, making religion a purely passive phase of nationalism.

Likewise in Iran, during the period of 1920 to 1940, religious holidays were displaced by national fiestas, national heroes were substituted for those of Arab origin, and the old customs of Islam were replaced by new.

Even within the Arab-speaking world, nationalism transcends religion. Egypt is concerned with local issues. Saudi Arabia is absorbed in the age-old feud between its royal family and that of west Arabia. Nationalists in Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Morocco are concentrating on means to throw off the French yoke.
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« Reply #147 on: September 13, 2006, 11:46:12 PM »

Part Two

Only when a cause in another region would be of value in their own do the Moslems cooperate. For example, their widespread sympathy for the Palestinian Arab in his struggle against Zionism is translated into action only by the Arab states bordering on Palestine. The largest single group of Moslem believers lives in India, but its principle fear is of being swallowed up in a sea of Hindu millions; to these Moslems, the establishment of a colony of Jews three thousand miles to the west is by comparison a matter of little concern.

In addition to the dissension and selfish interests that tend to split the Moslem world from within, various foreign countries have parceled it into spheres of influence or areas of outright domination. From 1930 to 1940, only three Moslem states, with a total population of less than 40 million people, had any real degree of independence. They were Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, and each of these was jealous of the others and on the defensive to protect its national existence against the great powers.

6. Prostitution of leadership.?At the end of the 18th century, Moslem power had fallen so low that a series of self-appointed Protectors of Islam appeared. One of the earliest was Napoleon, who, as governor of Egypt from 1799 to 1802, outdid the old Moslem rulers in celebrating Islamic festivals and reviving decadent customs.

Later, Great Britain assumed the role, but her efforts had small success because her Zionist policy antagonized the Arabs.

Then Mussolini and Hitler represented themselves as guardians of the Moslems. Axis money and intrigue proved effective in many instances, so that with the approach of war, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Rashid Ali al-Gailani of Iraq, among others, were in the Axis camp. In Iran, a group of important persons was formed into a loose political party which favored the Axis, and in Egypt the British could trust neither the king nor the premier.

The most recent claimant as Protector of Islam is the Soviet Union, which before the war showed little interest in championing religion but now realizes the value of such a rule as an instrument of policy. Thus, while the London BBC and Delhi radio have recently broadcast recitations in Arabic from the Koran and admonished the faithful to continue their devotions, Radio Moscow has told of the facilities which the Soviet Union had made available to pilgrims for traveling by air to Mecca.

Recent Soviet broadcasts have quoted the imam of the Moscow mosque, Sheikh Nasr ad-Din, on freedom of religion in the Soviet Union. The imam stated that "every Moslem in the U.S.S.R. is well aware of the fact that the Stalin constitution is a guarantee for the freedom of expression and belief," and (citing the oppression of Moslems under Christian regimes) that "Moslems in the U.S.S.R. always beseech Allah to protect the Soviet authorities and our great father and friend of all nations, the great and wise Stalin." The imam was also quoted as saying that "as a result of the consideration shown by the government toward Soviet Moslems, tombs of distinguished Moslem religious leaders are being maintained" and reconstructed. Another Moscow broadcast, directed at Arabic-speaking peoples, declared that rumors circulating in Arab circles regarding the Soviet Union's attitude toward religion, particularly the Islamic, were "nothing but political maneuvers of the imperialists, who are afraid of the Arab march on the road of democracy and true liberty."

The election in Moscow of the Grand Mufti of the Central Muslim Administration is reported to have been scheduled for January. Arab circles are reported to have taken more interest in this assembly of Moslems than in any other Soviet propaganda effort. It is to be anticipated that the election of the Grand Mufti of the Central Moslem Administration may prove as useful propaganda as was the election of Alexius to the Patriarchate of All Russia. The Soviets have also solicited the favor of the Coptic Church in Egypt and that of other religious groups in the Middle East.

The net result of all these intrigues has been that the Moslems are properly suspicious of their leaders. The moment a new leader appears, he is tempted by various European powers to accept their "assistance," and almost inevitably his loyalty and discretion are eventually sold to one of them.

Present Forces Tending to Strengthen Moslem Unity
1. The Pilgrimage to Mecca.?This ancient duty formerly brought many hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all sections of the Moslem world to Mecca, where ideas were actively exchanged, along with goods. Although the pilgrimage is still made (the last was in November and December 1945), the number participating had dwindled greatly. The scarcity of shipping during the war reduced the usual horde to about 20,000-30,000 per year. While the numbers will probably increase now, they are not likely to reach their former proportions. Turkey discourages pilgrimages; Iran (where the dissident Shiah sect is the official religion) has prohibited them altogether since 1944. Yet they will continue to be a unifying force when Moslems from the East and West meet and repeat prayers in a common language.

2. Classical Arabic.?All written Arabic, as well as that spoken in public assemblies, is based on the classical forms. Accordingly, a newspaper printed in Casablanca can be read in Baghdad or by members of the Lebanese colony in New Jersey. The Arab press is reviving. Al Ahram, a daily newspaper in Cairo, has almost as large a circulation outside the country as within. Many new books have been published on the lives of the early Moslem heroes, and a "Book of the Month Club" distributes biographies of famous characters, almost all Moslems. The American Readers' Digest, in its Arabic translation, sells around 100,000 copies a month, indicating the increasing demand for reading material. It is still too early to know whether this literary revival will tend to break up Moslem solidarity by introducing new ideas, or will lead Islam out of its slough of intellectual inaction.

3. Modern communications.?The development of fast, comfortable, and relative [sic] cheap travel is affording a more cosmopolitan outlook to a small group in each country. Radio programs in all the languages of the East flood the air. Thus, for a few, the isolation of the past has ended, and these few will act as a leaven for the rest. Any growth in understanding among the poverty-crushed masses, however, will be very slow.

4. The Arab League.?After a spasmodic upheaval, such as that led by Lawrence in 1916-1920, the pan-Arab movement broke up under the pressure of British and French policies and because of rivalries between the Hashmite family of west Arabia and the Saud family of east Arabia. Nevertheless, two other forces were driving the Arabs of the Middle East toward greater cohesion: (1) hatred of European exploitation and (2) fear of a Jewish state on Arab soil. By 1942, leaders of the Arab world were advancing plans for the formation of an Arab federation, and in February 1943, British Foreign Secretary Eden declared that Great Britain favored any move toward Arab unity.

Soon there was a stirring of political activity, culminating in October 1944 with the announcement of the Alexandria Protocol of the Arab League Conference. A constitution was drafted in March 1945, and seven states (or mandated territories) have become members. The League aims to include all Arabs in North Africa and then to take in Turkey and Iran. It represents the sympathetic and broader vision that is being expressed by the Arabs of both East and West for the first time in centuries. At the very least, the League serves as a rallying point for Moslems, and many of them hope will restore Islam to some degree of political power.

The Present Estimate
If the Moslem states were strong and stable, their behavior would be more predictable. They are, however, weak and torn by internal stresses; furthermore, their peoples are insufficiently educated to appraise propaganda or to understand the motives of those who promise a new Heaven and a new Earth.

Because of the strategic position of the Moslem world and the relentlessness of its peoples, the Moslem states constitute a potential threat to world peace. There cannot be permanent world stability, when one-seventh of the earth's population exists under the economic and political conditions that are imposed upon the Moslems.

[1] Confidential (declassified on May 17, 1979), Feb. 14, 1946, no. 1., pp. 24-34.
[2] See Daniel Pipes, "Moslem States Represent a Potential Threat to World Peace," FrontPageMagazine.com, Feb. 13, 2006.
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« Reply #148 on: September 17, 2006, 09:28:26 AM »

Woof All:

There certainly is a certain humor, unintended as it may be, to a group responding to the Pope's statement on doctrinal violence in Islam by saying "We will punish you for saying we are violent by sending death squads".

That said, it would not surprise me if the complete text of the Pope's statement was often missing from the reportage of it in much of the Muslim world.  Certainly the mirror equivalent in our world is capable of sensationalizing too.

Still, responses to the larger question presented by the Pope's speech seem utterly to be missing in action.

===========

Report: Rome tightens pope's security after fury over Islam remarks
 
By Haaretz Service News Agencies
 
The Vatican has increased the security provisions for the Pope, Army Radio reported Sunday, a day after an Iraqi insurgent group threatened the Vatican with a suicide attack over the pope's remarks on Islam.

Muslims around the world have reacted furiously to the comments Tuesday by Benedict XVI, in which he quoted from an obscure Medieval text referred to some of the teachings of the Prophet Mohammad as "evil and inhuman."

The statement, posted online Saturday in the group's name, does not state the seat of the Holy See directly, but is addressed to "you dog of Rome" and threatens to "shake your thrones and break your crosses in your home."


 
 
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"We swear to God to send you people who adore death as much as you adore life," said the message posted in the name of the Mujahedeen Army on a Web site frequently used by militant groups.

The message, the authenticity of which could not be independently verified, also contained links to video recordings of what the group claimed were rocket attacks on U.S. bases.

The Mujahedeen Army's statement vowed, "our minds will not rest until we shake your thrones and break your crosses in your home."

The same group has claimed responsibility for scores of attacks in Iraq, including the April 2005 downing of a helicopter carrying 11 civilians, including six Americans.

It was among 11 Sunni insurgent groups that offered in June to halt all attacks if the United States agrees to withdraw foreign forces from Iraq in two years.

Pope 'sorry' Muslims offended by his speech on Mohammed
The Vatican said on Saturday Pope Benedict XVI was sorry Muslims had been offended by a speech whose meaning had been misconstrued, as anger and protest grew throughout the Muslim world.

In a statement issued by the Vatican, the pope said he respects believers in Islam and hopes they will understand the true meaning of his speech.

In a speech on Tuesday the Pope repeated criticism of the Prophet Mohammad by the 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, who said everything the Prophet brought was evil "such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the Pope said.

"He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached,"' Benedict quoted the emperor as saying.

The remarks sparked outrage across the Islamic world.

The new Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said that the pope's position on Islam is unmistakably in line with Vatican teaching that the Church "esteems Muslims, who adore the only God."

"The Holy Father is very sorry that some passages of his speech may have sounded offensive to the sensibilities of Muslim believers," Bertone said in a statement.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said the Vatican statement saying the Pope was sorry did not go far enough.

"We want a personal apology [from the Pope]. We feel that he has committed a grave error against us and that this mistake will only be removed through a personal apology," Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Leader Mohammed Habib told Reuters.

"Has he presented a personal apology for statements by which he clearly is convinced? No," he said.

Morocco recalled its ambassador to the Holy See in protest over the Pope's remarks, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

Ambassador Ali Achour will be recalled as of Sunday for consultation "following remarks offensive with regard to Islam and Muslims by Pope Benedict XVI," the ministry said in a statement released by Morocco's state news agency.

Assailants attack five churches in West Bank, Gaza
Assailants hurled firebombs and opened fire at five churches in the West Bank and Gaza on Saturday, causing no injuries, but sparking fears of a rift between Palestinian Muslims and Christians.

The attacks on four of the 10 churches in the West Bank town of Nablus, and on the Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza City unsettled a relatively peaceful coexistence in the city.

The assaults began with fire bombings of Nablus' Anglican and Greek Orthodox churches, which left trails of black scorch marks in their wake. At least five firebombs were hurled at the Anglican church, whose door was later set ablaze in a separate attack. Smoke billowed from the church as firefighters put out the flames

In a phone call to The Associated Press, a group calling itself the "Lions of Monotheism" claimed responsibility, saying the attacks were meant to protest the pope's remarks about Islam.

Hours later, four masked gunmen doused the main doors of Nablus' Roman and Greek Catholic churches with lighter fluid, then set them ablaze. They also opened fire on the buildings, pocking their outer walls with bullet holes.

In Gaza City, militants opened fire from a car at a Greek Orthodox church, hitting the facade. A policeman at the scene said he saw a car escape with armed men inside. Explosive devices were set off at the same Gaza church on Friday, causing minor damage.

There were no claims of responsibility for the last three attacks. Said Siyam, the interior minister from Hamas, ordered extra protection for churches across the West Bank and Gaza.

"The atmosphere is charged already, and the wise should not accept such acts," said Father Yousef Saada, a Greek Catholic priest in Nablus.

Ayman Daraghmeh, a Hamas legislator, denounced the attacks, and urged Palestinian police to do more to protect Christian sites.

Growing chorus of criticism in Muslim world against Pope
Iran condemned Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday for making what it called "a big mistake" in his comments on Islam and demanded an apology, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

"The pope's expression contradicted his own leadership of a divine religion. Promotion of incorrect beliefs (about Islam) is considered a big mistake," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini was quoted as saying.

Hosseini said the pope should "revise and correct" his remarks in order to prevent Muslims' indignation.

In the first reaction from a top Christian leader, the head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church said in remarks published Saturday that Pope Benedict XVI's comments on Islam were "against the teachings of Christ."

Coptic Pope Shenouda III told the pro-government Al-Ahram newspaper that he didn't hear the pope's exact words, but that "any remarks which offend Islam and Muslims are against the teachings of Christ."

"Christianity and Christ's teachings instruct us not to hurt others, either in their convictions or their ideas, or any of their symbols - religious symbols," Shenouda was quoted as saying.

Egypt's Copts, whose liturgy follows Eastern Orthodox Christian traditions rather than the Vatican, account for an estimated 10 percent of Egypt's 73 million people.

Also on Saturday, Indonesians gathered outside of the Palestinian Embassy in Jakarta in protest over the pope's remarks.

On Friday night, some 2,000 Palestinians angrily protested against the pope in Gaza City, accusing him of leading a new Crusade against the Muslim world.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh Friday joined the growing chorus of criticism in the Muslim world against Pope Benedict XVI, saying he had offended Muslims everywhere.

Lebanon's most senior Shiite Muslim cleric on Friday denounced Pope Benedict XVI's recent remarks about Muslim holy war, and demanded the Pope personally apologize for insulting Islam.

"We do not accept the apology through Vatican channels ... and ask him [Benedict] to offer a personal apology - not through his officials - to Muslims for this false reading [of Islam]," Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah told worshippers in his Friday prayers sermon.

Fadlallah's words were some of the strongest yet in response to the pontiff's remarks on Islam's prophet Mohammed and holy war, during a speech this week in Germany, which angered many in the Muslim world.

"We call on the Pope to carry out a scientific and fastidious reading of Islam. We do not want him to succumb to the propaganda of the enemy led by Judaism and imperialism against Islam," Fadlallah said.

On Friday, Pakistan's parliament unanimously adopted a resolution condemning Benedict for making what it called "derogatory" comments about Islam, and seeking an apology. Hours later, its Foreign Ministry summoned the Vatican's ambassador to express regret over the remarks.

About 100 worshippers demonstrated after Friday prayers at Egypt's Al-Azhar mosque, the Sunni Arab world's most prominent institution, chanting "Oh Crusaders, oh cowards! Down with the Pope!"

Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Friday Pope Benedict XVI must explain himself after insulting the Muslim world with "unfortunate" remarks about Islam and jihad.

"He has to explain himself, and tell us what exactly did he mean," Gheit told The Associated Press. "It can't just be left like that."

Many attributed the Pope's comments to a larger political bias against Muslims. "This is part of the whole war against Islam. Whenever we close a door on evil, they open another door," said an Egyptian man who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

"These Christians are all infidels. Benedict himself is an infidel and a blind man. Doesn't he see that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places were waged by Christians?" another worshipper said.One of the protest's organizers, a Muslim Brotherhood figure, shouted into a microphone, demanding an official apology from the Vatican.

Hundreds of Egyptian riot police wearing black helmets and carrying heavy
shields surrounded the mosque, preventing protesters from spilling over into the streets.

Fadlallah said he condemns "and protests in the strongest terms" the Pope's comments, "particularly his quoting without any occasion of the words of the emperor in which he insults Prophet Mohammed."

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora instructed Lebanon's ambassador to the Vatican, Naji Abi Assi, to visit the Vatican Foreign Ministry to seek
clarifications on the pontiff's remarks, a Lebanese government official said Friday.

In neighboring Syria, the grand mufti, the country's top Sunni Muslim
religious authority, sent a letter to the pope saying he feared the pontiff's comments on Islam would worsen interfaith relations. Sheik Ahmad Badereddine Hassoun, a moderate cleric, said the comments "raise intellectual, cultural and religious problems between followers of religious faiths."

The letter, addressed to the Pope and delivered to the Vatican embassy in
Damascus, avoided sharp criticism however, reflecting tight control by Syria's secular regime.

"We expect that what has been attributed to your holiness is not true and hope we can all work together on spreading divine values that call for harmony, accord and cooperation," Hassoun wrote.

Notably, the most violent denunciation so far has come from Turkey - a
moderate democracy seeking EU membership, which Benedict plans to visit in November.

Salih Kapusuz, deputy leader of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-rooted party, said Friday that Benedict's remarks were either "the result of pitiful ignorance" about Islam and its prophet, or worse, a deliberate distortion of the truths.

"He has a dark mentality that comes from the darkness of the Middle Ages. He is a poor thing that has not benefited from the spirit of reform in the Christian world," Kapusuz told Turkish state media. "It looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades."

"Benedict, the author of such unfortunate and insolent remarks, is going down in history for his words," he said. "He is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini."

Even Turkey's staunchly pro-secular opposition party demanded that the Pope apologize to Muslims before his visit. Another party led a demonstration outside Ankara's largest mosque, and a group of about 50 people left a black wreath outside the Vatican's diplomatic mission.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi has tried to defuse anger, saying the Pope had not intended to offend Muslim sensibilities and insisting that Benedict respected Islam. In Pakistan, the Vatican envoy regretted "the hurt caused to Muslims."

But Muslim leaders said outreach efforts by papal emissaries were not enough. "We do not accept the apology through Vatican channels ... and ask him [Benedict] to offer a personal apology - not through his officials," Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah - Lebanon's most senior Shiite Muslim cleric - told worshippers Friday in Beirut, Lebanon.

Rashwan feared the official condemnations could be the precursor for widespread popular protests. Already there have been scattered demonstrations in several Muslim countries.

"What we have right now are public reactions to the Pope's comments from political and religious figures, but I'm not optimistic concerning the reaction from the general public, especially since we have no correction from the Vatican," Rashwan said
 
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« Reply #149 on: September 17, 2006, 12:51:08 PM »

Second post of the morning:

Defining Today's Moderate Muslim
By Teresa Watanabe, Times Staff Writer
September 17, 2006


Who is a moderate Muslim?

Is it Maher Hathout, the Los Angeles Muslim leader who has promoted interfaith relations and women's equality but denounced Israel as a brutal apartheid regime?  Is it Tashbih Sayyed, a journalist based in Alta Loma, Calif., who praises Israel's behavior toward Palestinians as tolerant and criticizes Muslims for corrupting Islam?

The question has come under intense debate since 9/11 as the public struggles to distinguish peaceful Muslims from Al Qaeda terrorists, and is at the heart of two Southern California skirmishes over who represents moderate Islam.

In a dinner scheduled for tonight, the American Jewish Congress plans to honor Sayyed and four others for what it sees as their friendly attitudes toward Israel and courageous efforts to reform Islam.

Gary Ratner, executive director of the Congress' Western region office in Los Angeles, said the tribute is part of the organization's global efforts to reach out to moderate Muslims in Pakistan, Indonesia, Albania and elsewhere, including sponsoring a dinner in New York last year for Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

"Israel is going to be a fixture in the Mideast," Ratner said. "If there is ever going to be peace, there has to be accommodation with Muslims."

The organization's choice of honorees, however, has offended some Muslims, in part because three of them no longer practice the faith.

In contrast, a different award has offended some Jewish sensibilities: the decision by the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission to honor Hathout as a model of harmonious interfaith relations.

Hathout's critics argue that his controversial statements supporting Hezbollah and denouncing Israel have exposed him as an extremist. The Egyptian native and retired cardiologist, saying his opponents have twisted his record, asserts that he has long condemned terrorism, launched interfaith dialogues and promoted an American Islamic identity that celebrates pluralism, democracy and women's rights.

The commission is to vote Monday on whether to reaffirm or rescind the award.

Despite the dissent, Muslims, Christians and Jews named similar attributes when asked to define religious moderation. They included problem-solving without violence, affirmation of human rights, religious freedom and other Western values, and respectful attitudes toward women.

But on one key issue, there was sharp disagreement: attitudes toward Israel.

Ratner said his group believes support for Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state is central to the definition of a moderate because it speaks to the larger qualities of tolerance and acceptance.

Others, however, reject that as a litmus test.

"It's un-American," said John Esposito, Georgetown University professor of religion and international affairs. "Your principal and only obligation in terms of loyalty as an American is to America. You can have a variety of positions regarding foreign policy."

Still others say labels and litmus tests aren't terribly useful for either side.

"The question is ? can we find points of agreement, a place from which to build trust and move forward?" asked Rob Eshman, editor of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. "I deal with Jews every day whom I don't consider moderate, but I don't write them off. And we can't afford to write off Muslims."

Since 9/11, Esposito and others said, the quest for moderate Muslims has become widespread as policymakers, journalists, terrorism experts and religious leaders seek to understand Islam and assess who is "safe" and who is extremist.

Often, those seeking moderate Muslims are looking for people to affirm their own values, said Reuven Firestone, a professor of medieval Jewish and Islamic studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles.

When we say we want moderate Muslims, what we are really saying is that we want Westernized Muslims who have the same kinds of sensibilities we have," Firestone said. "But that's not realistic. It's a false but human assumption that moderates must agree with us on most issues."

To Firestone, moderates are those committed to settling disputes without violence and willing to hear and consider other points of view, especially those contrary to their own.

Others said that whatever yardstick is chosen must be consistently applied. If Muslims who condemn Israeli treatment of Palestinians are extremists, all Christians, Jews and atheists who feel likewise must be similarly described, said Khaled Abou El Fadl, a UCLA Islamic law professor and author of "The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists."

Many said a key criterion for Muslim moderates is that they in fact be Muslim.

Among the Jewish Congress honorees are Indian-born British author Salman Rushdie, a self-described atheist, and two women who say they left the faith years ago, Wafa Sultan and Nonie Darwish.

Darwish is a Southern California writer and founder of Arabs for Israel. Sultan is a Corona psychiatrist, writer and activist who has said she is particularly concerned about women's status in Islam.

"By honoring Muslims who are not practicing Muslims, the given message, even if unintentional, is that these people are good because they left the faith," said Firestone, who recently returned from a six-month sabbatical in Cairo. "But there are hundreds of millions of moral, deeply believing Muslims."

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Jewish groups have long tried to promote alternative Islamic leaders who may be friendly to Israel but in fact have little following among Muslims. "It's a slap in the face," he said.

But Ratner defended the selections.

"To me it's a phonetic debate," he said, referring to whether the awardees were practicing Muslims or not. "It's about the reform of Islam so that the Muslim world and the West can live in peace and tolerance with each other's values and beliefs."

Two of the honorees say they are practicing Muslims deeply concerned about their tradition's future and are unafraid to speak about it. Both Salim Mansur, a Calcutta native and Canadian political science professor, and Sayyed, the newspaper editor, said the Muslim world must stop blaming the West for its own ailments, including poverty, illiteracy, injustice or extremism.

Sayyed, 64, immigrated to the United States in 1981 to escape what he described as an increasingly radical practice of Islam in Pakistan. He said Muslims must reinvigorate their tradition with open debate even on sensitive questions. That includes, he said, whether Islam was spread by the sword or ideas, whether shariah is an outdated legal system for Muslims and whether the Prophet Muhammad's actions were all divinely inspired.

But when he wrote an article last year calling for Islam's reinterpretation, Sayyed said, he was widely condemned and threatened by fellow Muslims.

Mansur, too, said he was ostracized after writing columns for the Toronto Sun five years ago condemning the Taliban's destruction of ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan and comparing it to the murderous Khmer Rouge of Cambodia. The backlash prompted him to stop going to his local mosque.

Both men, however, said they have no intention of falling silent.

"Because I love my faith, I have to raise my voice and challenge it from within," Sayyed said.



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